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State sends plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to CDC

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public and Behavioral Health announced Friday the submission of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook for Statewide Operations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevada is prepared to receive, handle, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccine to its residents once a safe and effective vaccine is available.

“I am proud of the team that has worked diligently with public and private sector partners to complete a Nevada-specific plan to distribute the COVID vaccine as soon as an effective one becomes available,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “The state has made great strides in slowing the spread of the virus through mitigation measures, but it is vital we have a plan and a process in place when the time comes.”

The Nevada State Immunization Program is working with public- and private-sector partners, including immunization and public health emergency preparedness programs, emergency management agencies, Tribal nations and Tribal health organizations, health care organizations, industry groups, policy makers, immunization coalitions and community vaccination providers to share information on the vaccine distribution plan.

“The distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will be a monumental undertaking, and Immunize Nevada is prepared to work with the Nevada State Immunization Program and Division of Public and Behavioral Health to help execute our state’s plan,” said Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada. “Our extensive network of statewide coalition partners are committed to ensuring equitable and timely access to this eagerly awaited vaccine.”

Nevada’s planning efforts are based upon CDC guidance to anticipate a phased availability of vaccines within the state. Recognizing the likelihood of limited availability, Nevada’s plan first focuses on reducing the stress on the state’s health care systems by prioritizing vulnerable populations and health care workers.

“The Nevada Hospital Association is pleased to partner with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that hospital staff are appropriately protected,” said Bill M. Welch, president and CEO of the Nevada Hospital Association.

The state plans to collaborate with health care systems and commercial pharmacies as well as local health authorities to vaccinate long-term care facility staff and other health care workers.

“The Southern Nevada Health District is ready to put its experience implementing mass vaccination plans into place,” said JoAnn Rupiper, director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District. “We look forward to working with our partners to providing the COVID-19 vaccine to the public and to helping ensure the health and safety of our community.”

The Washoe County Health District said in a statement: “We have been working with Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine. When the vaccine is deemed safe and effective, we are committed to providing it to Washoe County residents in a safe and orderly manner.”

The state’s plan has been submitted to the CDC for review and will be released once approved. At this time there is no set distribution date for a COVID-19 vaccine.

More information on Nevada’s COVID-19 response can be found at NVHealthResponse.nv.gov

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