KNPR

Booster shots and a falling infection rate aid Southern Nevada's pandemic fight

booster.jpg

Associated Press

Pfizer was the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for booster shots.

With the availability of COVID-19 booster shots and a falling coronavirus infection rate in Southern Nevada, has a corner been turned in the pandemic?

On Monday, Clark County’s test positivity rate fell into the moderate category for the first time since the latest spike in the pandemic began in mid-summer.

That followed last month’s federal approval of booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals over 65 or in high-risk categories, with other drugmakers seeking their own OKs.

“We do find that this particular booster ... a large range of people that would be eligible for it,” said Sarah Lugo, community health nurse supervisor for the Southern Nevada Health District, adding that people who suffer from asthma, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic ailments might be eligible for the vaccine whatever age they are.

“We're looking at CDC recommendations for occupations,” Lugo said. “They're looking at first responders, education staff, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service, public transit grocery store, so it covers a wide umbrella of people,” she said. “And what we learned from before was that a lot of people fall under these umbrellas in different aspects of their jobs.”

Support comes from

Epidemiologist Brian Labus, an associate professor in the UNLV School of Public Health said, in general, a booster shot “basically just improves the ability of the immune system.”

“The way a vaccine works is it gives you a preview of the virus before you actually get infected with it, so your immune system can respond more quickly,” Labus told State of Nevada. “A booster just gives it another chance to help improve that response.”

Labus said vaccination rates continue to improve on the UNLV campus, which is imposing proof of vaccination for students, faculty, and staff.

“By the end of this semester, basically, everyone on campus is going to be vaccinated,” he said.

Guests

Sarah Lugo, community health nurse supervisor, Southern Nevada Health District; Brian Labus, epidemiologist and assistant professor, UNLV School of Public Health

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.