Vaccines started arriving in Churchill County last week, marking an important step toward controlling the pandemic that has flooded rural hospitals, especially, in the last two months.
Banner Churchill Community Hospital was the first in the Banner Health system to vaccinate its frontline employees against COVD-19.
“We are honored and excited that we can offer this vaccine to our frontline workers,” said Rob Carnahan, CEO of Banner Churchill Medical Center. “As our infection rate continues to increase, we’re hoping this vaccine will protect our most valuable resources at Banner Churchill – our staff.”
Marjorie Bessel, Chief Clinical Officer for Banner Health, said that because the initial vaccine supply is limited, they have started administering it to frontline health care workers and they will continue to be the first to receive it. Banner is prioritizing vaccine distribution based on CDC, state and county guidelines. The vaccine is not yet available to the general public.
The state’s positivity rate has been decreasing for almost two weeks, and Churchill County, in particular, has seen hospitalization numbers improve. In Sunday’s report from the Nevada Hospital Association, 39 percent of patients at BCCH were being treated for COVID-19 while 75 percent were in the ICU. Forty percent of patients were on ventilators.
Even with the vaccine and improved numbers, Carnahan said it’s important for the community to keep doing their part to slow the spread, especially with a potential surge that could result from holiday gatherings this month.
“While more of the vaccine continues to be distributed in the coming weeks, we ask the public to continue to do their part to keep our communities safe including wearing a mask when in public, washing your hands, practicing social distancing and staying home if you are not feeling well,” he said.
Frequently Asked Questions
Provided by Banner Health
Who gets vaccinated first?
Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, the CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to health care personnel and long-term care facility residents.
When will the vaccine become available to the general public?
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same clinical trials process that is required of other vaccines. Safety reviews have been conducted and authorizations have been received from the FDA. All steps indicate that the vaccine is safe and effective. Banner's clinical review team has reached the same determination.
After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events (possible side effects). This continued monitoring can pick up on adverse events that may not have been seen in clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is seen, experts can quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern.
Experts then decide whether changes are needed in U.S. vaccine recommendations. This monitoring is critical to help ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks for people who receive vaccines. CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as by scaling up existing safety monitoring systems.
Will those who get the COVID-19 vaccine still need to follow safety measures?
It's important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands often.