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Health district pleased with demand for COVID vaccines for children, cases remain high


Washoe County Health District (WCHD) officer Kevin Dick today said he had both good and bad news to report in a weekly COVID-19 media briefing. The good, he said, was a decline in the 7-day moving average of new cases over the past two weeks, from 150 earlier this month down to 109 today. 

The “bad” was news on several fronts. There has been a plateau in cases per 100,000 residents at 180 or more, a climbing test positivity rate from 9.5% up to 11% and an increase in confirmed cases among children and teens. 

Washoe County continues to be designated as a high transmission area for COVID-19 based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in cases occurring in the 0-17-year-old age range,” Dick said. “Children do get COVID-19 and they can transmit the disease. It’s important for them to be vaccinated as well.” 

WCHD’s Jim English said officials are pleased with the demand for vaccines for younger children. More than 770 children in the 5-11-year-old range have gotten their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the vaccination POD at Reno-Sparks Livestock Event Center (RSLEC). That number doesn’t include children who’ve received the vaccine at local pharmacies or pediatricians’ offices.

No severe vaccine reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine in children have been reported in Washoe County.

The state’s scheduling platform for vaccinations, which the county uses for its vaccine sites, is now updated to include appointments for children ages 5-11.

“We are not seeing the long lines and wait times occurring, so that’s good news for parents. They won’t be spending as much time in line,” English said.

Dick emphasized the need for families to exercise caution for safe gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the importance of protecting grandparents and those at higher risk for COVID-19. 

Other COVID-19 updates

Friday is the last day to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be fully immunized by Christmas Day. WCHD’s vaccination site at the RSLEC is open Friday morning from 9-11 a.m.

The POD site and the RSLEC will have limited hours next week due to the holiday. Vaccines will only be administered on Wednesday from 9-11 a.m., and testing will only be offered Monday and Wednesday from 9-11 a.m. To schedule an appointment visit https://covid19washoe.com/

Should the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorize COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, Dick said the WCHD would be ready and prepared to administer those doses. 

“We’ve got plenty of Pfizer vaccine on hand to handle any surge in demand,” he said.

Dick said he’s been in contact with the State Board of Pharmacy about the COVID-19 pills developed by Merck and Pfizer. If they’re approved for use in the U.S., he said the pharmacy board will determine distribution in the state. 

“It’s not going to be widely available for everybody that gets COVID-19 when the pill first comes out,” Dick said. “Again, the best course of action is to get vaccinated to prevent getting COVID-19 in the first place.”

Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.