Updated June 10, 2021 - 7:37 pm
The latest big thing in COVID-19 vaccination measures nearly 1.8 million square feet and can hold 65,000 or more people.
Beginning Thursday afternoon, Southern Nevadans could get a dose of vaccine at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, just west of the Strip. If you’ve wanted to get a good look inside without shelling out 50 bucks for a tour, now’s your chance.
Javier De La Torre jumped at the opportunity, becoming one of the first to get a dose at the clinic in prime seating on the 50-yard line.
As he soaked in the view, De La Torre, who turned 44 on Thursday, described the experience as “just like a birthday present for myself.”
Vaccination appointments at the stadium for people 12 and older are available each day through Sunday, and again next week from June 17 to 20. Those who need assistance or are under age 18 may be accompanied into the stadium by one person.
“You’re going to get a view that would cost you $50,000,” said Joe Geeb, a Clark County fire captain working with the Southern Nevada Health District on event logistics. “It’s an exclusive venue that provides a unique experience for getting vaccinated.”
Offering a clinic at an attraction — in this case a “global events destination,” according to the stadium website — is one of the newest ways to entice more people to get the vaccine, as demand for doses has plummeted.
At the peak in mid-April, 25,000 people per day in Nevada were getting vaccinated on average against COVID-19, a number that has fallen to 7,000 a day.
About 46 percent of Clark County’s population has gotten at least one dose, or nearly 53 percent of those 12 and older, the population eligible to receive the vaccine. Statewide, 42 percent of the population, or 50 percent of the eligible population, has gotten at least one dose.
Health officials want to increase these percentages to reduce the virus’ ability to spread in the community and to prevent potentially more dangerous new strains from taking hold.
Nevada ranks 33rd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for percentage of residents having received at least one dose, and 34th for percentage of eligible residents, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While praising the local vaccination effort, Nevada Rep. Dina Titus said during a media briefing, “We have a ways to go. That’s why we’re being so creative.”
To overcome vaccine indifference, officials have offered the shot everywhere from a strip club to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, as well as at churches, schools and community events.
Next big thing?
So what’s the next big thing in COVID-19 vaccination?
Titus, D-Nev., this week filed a bill that would create a national vaccine lottery to dole out $1 million each to 100 randomly selected winners. State officials have said that a statewide raffle where people who are vaccinated could win prizes is another possible option but have provided few details.
“I think we’re just gonna keep you on your toes for a while,” Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick jokingly told reporters.
JoAnn Rupiper, chief nurse for the health district, said that officials hopes to vaccinate 500 to 1,000 people each day at the stadium clinic and could ramp up if the demand is there.
Both the two-dose Pfizer vaccine as well as the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are being offered at the stadium clinic, whose hours are 2 to 7:45 p.m. Appointments are encouraged, though some walk-ins may be accepted. Appointments are available at www.snhd.info/covid-vaccine.
Those getting vaccinated also receive a Raiders rally towel and are entered in a daily drawing to receive two tickets to the full, official tour of Allegiant Stadium.