LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Countless Nevadans are still waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but some are admittedly taking matters into their own hands. On social media, they are being dubbed “vaccine hunters.”
Stuart Timpa works as a dealer at one of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. While hospitality workers are considered “essential” under the State of Nevada’s vaccine playbook, the timeline is unclear.
“We haven’t heard anything about any scheduling of any appointments,” Timpa said.
He is 61-years-old and notes, given his job, he would feel safer with a dose of the vaccine.
“I’ve been exposed to thousands of people, and I’ve been lucky enough not to have contracted the virus, but I don’t want to push my luck,” Timpa said.
So now, he is planning to show up at a vaccination site as it is closing.
“Maybe I would get one then.”
And that is something some people claim they have already done. One person commented on the 8 News Now Facebook page, saying, “That is how I got my vaccine… I waited around, and there were several that were going to go to waste.” Another wrote, “I would rather the dose go to someone rather than be wasted.”
But the Southern Nevada Health District sent 8 News Now a statement, saying, “We wouldn’t be able to comment on this type of individual activity. We work through our appointment system to use our vaccine supply efficiently.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is also weighing in.
“We are seeing rumors and substantiated examples where people are getting access to the vaccine who are not yet eligible. It is not fair, and that must stop,” the governor said in a pre-recorded video released this week.
Timpa says all he wants to do is try.
“I’ll just inquire and be very polite, and if I’m turned away, I’m turned away,” he said. “If they say no, they say no. I’m not there to bother anyone or cause any kind of problem. I just would like to get a vaccine sooner than later.”
State leaders said this week they may look at consequences for people jumping the line for vaccines. But nothing is set in stone yet.