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The Wait for Nevada’s Hospitality Workers to Get Vaccinated May Be Over in Two Weeks

Nevada’s COVID-19 Task Force estimates that hospitality workers will be eligible in two weeks for one of three COVID-19 vaccines

Henderson and Las Vegas residents receive the COVID-19 vaccination
Henderson and Las Vegas residents receive the COVID-19 vaccination
Getty Images

Nevada’s estimated 301,700 hospitality workers could see their turn in line to receive one of three approved COVID-19 vaccinations in the next two weeks, according to the state’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Back in January, Candice McDaniel from Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced that Nevadans would be vaccinated in two lanes — one based on age and another based on industry and exposure to COVID-19. Restaurant staff, food prep workers, and casino and resort employees are among the jobs considered front-line workers but have yet to be approved to sign up for a vaccination appointment.

In January, the Gaming Control Board surveyed casino operators to determine whether employees who have direct contact with customers are willing to get inoculated.

The move could help the state recover quicker from the drop in tourism in 2020. Business and convention tourism fell from 6.6 million conventioneers in 2019 to 1.7 million in 2020, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Tourism overall was down 54.5 percent in 2020.

Once hospitality workers are approved to receive either the first of two doses from Moderna or Pfizer or the one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, they will head to giant vaccination sites at Cashman Center or Las Vegas Convention Center, according to Southern Nevada Health District.

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 plans to help inform its 60,000-plus members in Nevada how to get vaccinated when the time comes. “Communities of color, who have highest incidents of COVID-19 infection rates and deaths due to the virus, need equitable access to the vaccine,” the culinary union says in a press statement.

Since December, the Southern Nevada Health District administered 489,600 vaccines, including 325,120 first doses and 164,480 second doses. As of Wednesday, the health department has not received its first shipment of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, which was approved by the FDA last weekend.

Eligibility was expanded this week to include all the remaining categories within the front-line community support group and the front-line supply chain and logistics group, including grocery store employees. In addition to people in these occupation categories, groups currently eligible to receive the vaccine include people 65 years of age and older, health-care workers, and those in the public safety and security front-line group.

Southern Nevada recorded 316 new cases of COVID-19 on March 3, 37 people were hospitalized, and 16 died. Since the pandemic started more than a year ago, 3,903 people have died from complications of COVID-19, with 227,771 infected in Southern Nevada.

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