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Cashman vaccine site draws crowd after more workers become eligible

Updated March 3, 2021 - 12:37 am

Cashman Center’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic saw long lines and wait times of over an hour Tuesday, a day after public health officials expanded eligibility to dozens of additional occupations.

By early afternoon, however, the lines had dissipated and people with appointments could get in and out in 45 minutes, including a 15-minute wait time after the shot is administered.

The Southern Nevada Health District on Monday expanded eligibility within the “front-line community support” category to essential transportation workers, including ride-sharing service drivers. It also made eligible an entirely new employment tier known as “front-line supply chain and logistics,” which includes agricultural and food supply, communications infrastructure, road and airport workers.

Pat McKeever, 53, who works as an airline pilot, said he heard he was eligible after returning home from a trip Monday night. He immediately tried to schedule an appointment but couldn’t get through until early Tuesday morning, when he booked a slot for the afternoon.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “I got two kids and a wife, and I’m out and about all the time for my job, so I don’t want to bring it home to them. Obviously, you still wear the mask and everything, but that first chance I got I jumped at it.”

McKeever noted that the past year has been difficult for the airline industry and hoped things would turn around as the vaccine rollout continues to expand.

“It’s been horrible. I guess it’s been horrible for everybody, but terrible for our business, the empty planes, empty terminals,” he said. “We’re losing money, but it’s not fun not flying people around either.”

Micah Haji-Sheikh, 27, who is studying to be a teacher and works in a school, qualified under the front-line community support tier. She got an email from her employer and a text from her mother early Tuesday and quickly went online to schedule an appointment.

She planned to tell her colleagues to do the same as soon as they can.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “I actually got COVID back in November. I’ve kind of been riding out that little antibody bubble. But you really don’t know how safe that is. So, especially with the fact that CCSD is returning in person in the next couple of weeks, I’m really excited that I was able to get it now.”

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.