University vaccine distribution begins

January 21, 2021

This message was sent to University faculty and staff.

Dear Wolf Pack Family,

I hope this communication finds you and yours safe and healthy. COVID-19 vaccination distribution throughout our entire country and University remains a very fluid situation. Your patience and flexibility during this challenging time is greatly appreciated.

Late on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the University was notified by the Washoe County Health District that a limited number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccines were available for NSHE employees in Washoe County who were deemed eligible under what was formerly termed “Tier 2/Nevada System of Higher Education Frontline Faculty/Staff.”

The University then sent the more than 2,100 individuals who were originally identified as being members of “Tier 2” an email informing them they could make first-come, first-served appointments with the Washoe County Health Department for vaccinations. These first doses being made available to the designees of what was once known as Tier 2 came about quickly, yet were eagerly welcomed by our University. We moved quickly to inform the individuals who were in that priority group, with the hope that they would make appointments and begin their vaccination process in the coming days.

As you might remember, last week the State of Nevada’s latest vaccination playbook, “NV COVID Playbook Version 3 (pages 2-3),”  [external PDF] related a “two-lane” approach to statewide vaccinations. The two lanes include “Workforce” in one lane and the “General Population” in another lane. This initial vaccine allotment that we learned about late Tuesday was made available on a first come, first serve basis by the County and was specifically for those who were designated as part of the Tier 2 Frontline NSHE employee classification.

As set forth in Nevada’s Vaccine Playbook, vaccine administration throughout Nevada primarily occurs at the county level. Different Nevada counties, and subsequently different NSHE campuses located within those counties, have been administering the vaccine at different paces, depending on a variety of factors, such as geography, population and supply. Washoe County has only a limited number of doses and not all of the individuals receiving the notification email will be able to receive a vaccination during this scheduling period. This is only the beginning of what will be several more weeks of vaccine availability for NSHE employees in this particular priority group.

We remain hopeful that future distributions over the coming weeks will allow all of the members of this priority group, as well as others members of the University’s priority groups, to be vaccinated. It is important to remember that the vaccine is federally allotted and the University does not have any control over its distribution. The University must comply with directives from the State of Nevada and Washoe County as we learn of vaccine availability and how and when it can be distributed.

I also wish to clarify some information regarding the vaccination of our employees who are over 70 years old. As the University will be providing vaccinations for the “Workforce” lane, we will not be vaccinating for age. Employees who are over 70 may choose to be vaccinated as part of the “General Population” lane. While some faculty may not qualify for vaccine prioritization based upon their current employment with NSHE, they may separately qualify for a higher vaccine prioritization based on independent criteria, such as their age or an underlying health condition.

In order to do this, these individuals can make an appointment with local pharmacies or their healthcare providers. Appointments with local pharmacies will be open for senior COVID-19 vaccination as supply is available starting on Jan. 20. Participating pharmacies around Nevada will first vaccinate those who are 70 and older. According to the Nevada State Immunization Program, multiple pharmacies have joined in this effort and will be accepting appointments to their web-based systems. Information on county-by-county pharmacy participation and information on making an appointment will be available on

Faculty who qualify for higher prioritization based on criteria separate from their employment with NSHE are in the same position as other similarly-situated members of their community.

University-wide meeting for faculty and staff: Jan. 22, 2021

Please don’t forget to join me for tomorrow’s University-wide meeting for faculty and staff via Zoom this Friday, Jan. 22 from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. To join the University-wide meeting, which will take place as a webinar on Zoom, please register online. You must be logged into Zoom with your NetID credentials to attend this webinar. To log in to Zoom, use the SSO option. When asked, enter “UNR” as the domain, then enter your NetID and Password.

Also be sure to keep yourself updated by visiting the new vaccine information section on the University’s coronavirus information page for more information.

We are doing our best to plan for both the expected and perhaps even more importantly, the unexpected as well. Thank you for your continued adaptability, patience and resilience as we work through these uncharted and sometimes very swift waters.

Sincere regards, Brian Sandoval President