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Governor Sisolak announces new initiative to address vaccine equity

Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks virtually about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Nevada on December...
Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks virtually about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Nevada on December 30, 2020.(KOLO)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 7:43 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced Friday a new Equity and Fairness Initiative aimed at ensuring vaccines are distributed to Nevadans equally, specifically in Clark County.

In a video statement, the Governor said the state has made incredible gains leveraging resources to expand vaccination sites and clear a data backlog in Southern Nevada.

However, according to vaccination data released by the Southern Nevada Health District, Clark County is facing a vaccine equity challenge, resulting in a disparity in who is receiving the vaccine that does not reflect the demographics of that region.

Additionally, there are concerns over the Nevada COVID-19 Vaccination Playbook not being followed, resulting in an unfair allocation of vaccines, confusion among the public, and access to vaccines by ineligible groups or individuals.

Sisolak said there is evidence in southern Nevada that zip codes with the highest cases numbers are also the areas seeing the lowest numbers of vaccinations. While he admits there is some level of vaccine hesitancy, he says the demand does outweigh supply.

He also says the have been cases where people who work from home have received the vaccine before frontline workers or senior citizens.

“Equity and fairness requires an intentional effort to reach every community and not create a situation where those who have been disproportionately impacted by this virus are left behind – including the elderly and our frontline workers,” said Gov. Sisolak. “As we continue to fight for more doses from the federal government, it’s critical that the Nevada Vaccine Playbook is followed to support equitable vaccine distribution. While substantial progress has been made to ensure doses are being administered, challenges still remain -- but there’s no problem that we cannot solve as a State when we work together.”

Under this initiative, the state will work with Clark County Emergency Management and Southern Nevada Health District to clarify prioritization lanes, support fair access to vaccines through site selection, and equitable allocation across communities. Updates and progress will be reported publicly to the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force.

If equity and fairness issues arise in other areas throughout the State, focus will be given to alleviate challenges there as well.

The Governor’s full remarks can be found in the video message below:

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