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Governor’s new directive to fast-track COVID-19 vaccination

By Sudhiti Naskar
Public health nurses prepare to vaccinate other health care workers in Washoe County.

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Governor Steve Sisolak’s office on Tuesday issued updated guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Following the Governor’s Medical Advisory Team’s recommendation, this new guidance advises that emergency medical services (EMS) personnel are not required to hold a vaccine endorsement to provide the COVID-19 vaccine. 

It is expected that this guidance will fast-track Nevada’s ongoing vaccination drive. 

“As the State awaits more vaccines from the federal government, expanding the number of qualified vaccinators helps ensure as many professionals as possible are able to administer doses to Nevadans as quickly as possible,” the state’s COVID-19 Task Force said in a press release. 

This directive is in compliance with previous directives meant to reduce bureaucratic red tape surrounding vaccinations. To this effect, the governor’s office issued Emergency Directive 011 on Jan. 14, which aims to broadly allow and encourage as many qualified medical services providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who are medical service providers? 

The governor’s office defines providers of medical services as  “all categories of skilled personnel.” This includes doctors, nurses, medical assistants and pharmacy workers, along with less obvious providers including dentists and dental hygienists, and at POD sites podiatrists and veterinarians. 

Before administering vaccines, providers must meet a short list of requirements:

  • The individual is competent in doing so (training, knowledge, skill and ability) 
  • The injections are given in a setting where potential anaphylactic reactions can be monitored by appropriately-licensed medical personnel. 

Gathering restrictions do not apply to vaccination events

The second piece of crucial vaccination information issued today from the governor’s office is that the restriction on gathering size does not apply to vaccination events. 

The governor’s Emergency Directive 035 limits the size of some gatherings, but provides vaccination venues an exemption for gatherings aimed at providing “emergency and medical services to the public.” 

This means that vaccination events do not need to comply with restrictions limiting gatherings to 25% of fire code capacity or 50 people. 

When vaccination takes place inside a casino, restaurant or other facilities, the exemption will apply only to the room used for vaccination. The rest of the facility will still need to abide by the gathering rules in place. 

Everyone at the vaccination events must follow other safety protocols, including masking and social distancing.

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