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COVID-19 vaccines headed to BC Hospital

Boulder City Hospital could receive its first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week, according to local hospital officials.

“According to the Southern Nevada Health District, beginning on or about the week of Dec. 21, 2020, Boulder City Hospital will begin receiving the Moderna vaccine,” CEO Tom Maher announced in a written statement.

The Moderna vaccine was 94.1 percent effective against COVID-19 and 100 percent against severe COVID-19 during its trials. It is one of two being sent throughout the country. The other is being supplied by Pfizer. Both vaccines require two doses, administered three to four weeks apart, to be fully effective. The Moderna one is expected to receive emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration later this week.

Maher said the vaccines at Boulder City Hospital will first be given to staff because the facility is following the state directive “to immunize the critical infrastructure workforce first.”

That workforce includes long-term care facility staff and residents, emergency personnel, front line health workers and outpatient providers.

“The vaccine will be administered to staff on a sequential schedule to ensure staff are not experiencing immune system reactions at the same time and that patient care is not adversely affected by any decrease in health care personnel,” he said.

Maher also said he expects 60 percent of the current staff members to get the vaccine.

He said vaccinations for the general public are based on “manufacturer availability,” and the hospital is anticipating those doses to be available in May or June. He said the facility “will prioritize those with increased risk for severe illness” or underlying health issues as well as those older than 65 ahead of other adults.

The health district, which did not receive advance notice of exactly when the vaccine would arrive, received 12,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine Monday, Dec. 14, a spokeswoman said.

The district provided the first doses to University Medical Center, which was “ready to go” in terms of administering the vaccine to those who work at the hospital, JoAnn Rupiper, the health district’s director of clinical services, said during an online news conference.

Nevada expects to receive more than 23,000 doses of vaccine in shipments throughout the week, which will first be provided to front-line staff at acute-care hospitals. About 7,800 doses will be given to CVS and Walgreens pharmacy personnel, who will be giving shots to staff and residents at long-term care facilities, who are next in line for the vaccine.

As more vaccines are received, they will be offered to groups based on a tiered system that gives higher priority to those at greatest risk of direct exposure to COVID-19 who are part of the state’s essential infrastructure.

“It is important that we get our health care personnel vaccinated first so they can continue to provide the essential services and support our community has relied on to get us through this pandemic,” Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer for the health district, said in a release. “We will be receiving regular supplies of COVID-19 vaccine and will let each of the identified groups know when they are able to get vaccinated. Our ultimate goal is to ensure everyone is protected.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal Reporter Mary Hynes contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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