More than 15,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada so far |

More than 15,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada so far

Lab director says vaccines should still work despite British mutation

As of Tuesday, 15,207 Nevada health workers and long-term care residents have received the Pfizer vaccine and, despite the fact Moderna’s vaccine just arrived Monday, 940 people have received that shot.

Candice McDaniel, who is managing the vaccination process for the health division, said Nevada has now received 31,200 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 50,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Those receiving the vaccination are doctors, nurses and other front line health care workers as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

In addition, Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the state health laboratory, told reporters odds are the two existing vaccines will still be effective against the mutated coronavirus.

Pandori said the virus has not mutated nearly enough to render the vaccines ineffective.

“I’m optimistic the vaccines will be working fine,” he said adding that, to render the vaccines ineffective, “requires some radical alternations, far more mutation than we’ve seen in this particular strain.”

In addition, Pandori announced that new diagnostic machines capable of increasing the rate of testing are now going online at the state health lab and, very soon, equipment capable of detecting mutations in the virus will join those machines.

Deputy Health Administrator Julia Peek and Task Force Director Caleb Cage essentially said Nevada should be past the initial surge caused by Thanksgiving gatherings at this point. But she pointed out that, with Christmas and New Year’s almost here, they expect to see increased infections after the holidays.

Cage said that increases have been “arrested” for about 10 days now, an indication that any initial surge from Thanksgiving gatherings is “fully realized.”

But the approach of Christmas and New Year’s is another issue.

“We expect to see what Dr. Fauci said is a surge on top of a surge,” Cage said.

He said as of Wednesday morning, there were 200,962 cases of the infection in Nevada. The state’s positivity rate for the virus is 19.7 percent and 2,001 Nevadans are hospitalized.