COVID-19 Tier 2 vaccines to be dispersed starting Monday in Carson City
Carson City Health and Human Services has announced COVID-19 vaccine distribution for Tier 2 will begin Monday.
In a media briefing Tuesday, CCHHS representatives announced as of the end of the day Jan. 5, more than 1,200 in the Quad-County Region within Tier 1, including general medical and hospital staff, frontline public health and outpatient workers, pharmacists and emergency operations workers, have received the vaccine.
While those in Tier 1 are still able to receive vaccinations if they wish, the following from Tier 2 to be vaccinated will include elementary and secondary educational personnel, child care personnel and higher education. Other groups in Tier 2 will not yet be vaccinated for now.
Jeanne Freeman, Quad-County COVID-19 response coordinator for CCHHS, said the health authority has had conversations with the Nevada State Immunization Program, ensuring it is working with local employers equitably as needed. She later added it’s important for the agency to be good partners in its role of administering the vaccines and to maintain timeliness in providing access.
“It is important that we do not vaccinate those outside of the tier or where we are in the tier vaccination process so that we do not violate any of the federally approved guidelines or anything that the state has us doing,” Freeman said.
Dr. Susan Pintar, health officer for Carson City, discussed the COVID-19 virus and its side effects that often accompany the vaccine, with the virus itself described as a “clump” of genetic material and made from ribonucleic acid enclosed by a protein shell.
Pintar added multiple types of vaccines currently are in development, although three primarily are used today. A protein-based influenza virus was developed in a lab, or the “old faithful,” as she called it, and has been around for decades and is placed into an injectable form. The second is a viral vector and requires a good virus, attaches to protein and is injected.
The third is the fastest to be developed, the mRNA, or messenger RNA, and is available now through Pfizer and Moderna. A copy is made with the RNA through the virus, covered through fat and cholesterol and is injected into the body. It is faster with no risk of infection and was thus approved for distribution quicker. However, Pintar said, it is unclear what the long-term side effects will be, one of the disadvantages of using this third method.
“Those of you who have gotten your flu vaccines or a tetanus booster, you know you get sore muscles for a few days, and that’s very common,” she said. “That tells us your body is responding to the vaccine appropriately. Your immune system is getting activated and it’s trying to fight off the infection. Side effects are not fun, but they’re also not a bad thing.”
Pintar also said as far as the data on who’s taking more of the Pfizer versus the Moderna vaccines locally, it’s actually very close, but the minor difference between the two for now is if one chooses to take the Moderna vaccine, it is important that the second dose also be Moderna.
“It’s not recommended that you cross vaccines,” she said.
Currently, CCHHS has the Moderna vaccine in stock, she added. Freeman said the supply would last through the end of the week and they will be vaccinating 1,900 people this week alone and will place an order for next week.
Those who do choose to get the vaccine, or any vaccination, in the state of Nevada, Pintar said, are registered through the Nevada WebIZ website if they haven’t done so already. WebIZ is a confidential system that keeps track of all immunization records by a person’s date of birth, dose and when they received it, Pintar said. They also will be asked to wait about 15 minutes after receiving their vaccine, whether it’s Pfizer or Moderna, to be medically monitored in case they have a reaction.
Nicki Aaker, director of CCHHS, said after the vaccination has been received, staff members will assist the community members receiving it to enroll in its V-Safe program, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Freeman said it is a daily text sent to vaccine recipients for a week after they have been vaccinated. The tool allows personalized health check-ins for recipients to report any side effects and for CDC personnel to respond and collect information. It also reminds the individual to get their second COVID-19 dose if they need one.
NSIP, meanwhile, is working to develop a dashboard that would provide a tally on the uptick of Tier 1 vaccinations provided to date since that data is not yet available, Freeman said. She also added even though CCHHS will start providing Tier 2 vaccinations as of Monday and there might be those who likely might still decide they would like to be vaccinated from Tier 1, they will still provide those vaccines, she said. The department continues to provide the state program with the number of appointments being made and those who have received their vaccines, and Freeman said overall the interest still seems to remain.
“The state has allowed the different regions to move through the tiers at their own pace, so it is quite possible that the Quad County Region will be in a certain tier before another part of the state is in that tier,” Freeman said.
Tier 3 vaccinations, once they’re distributed, will include groups such as the homeless, those with underlying health conditions who are an increased risk with severe illness due to COVID-19 and those who could be at an increased risk for severe illness due to the virus, seniors age 65 and older without underlying health conditions, homeless persons, transitional housing for released offenders and remaining NSHE staff members.
Tier 4 includes healthy adults 18 to 64 years of age.
Freeman also said one of the most essential tasks is to ensure community members have access to the testing not just once but on multiple occasions as needed.
“We take our show on the road, so to speak,” she said. “We go to Yerington, Fernley, Dayton, Carson City, Douglas County. We are all over this region – Virginia City, Lockwood. … We’ve done that for testing for COVID, and we will do that with our vaccine.”
For information about the vaccinations or on CCHHS, visit gethealthycarsoncity.org.