Now that the coronavirus vaccine is making its way through the ranks, a challenge remains. According to a survey by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), 35% of Nevadans may refuse the vaccine.
At the front of the line for first jabs are essential workers like medical personnel and public safety officers. In Nevada, resort workers are also among the first to receive the initial COVID-19 vaccinations.
Since Nevada’s economy relies heavily on the gaming industry, resort workers are considered essential workers. But the survey circulated by the NGCB shows that up to 35% of Nevadans may refuse to be vaccinated.
This number is alarming to the industry, since 80% to 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated for herd immunity.
The NGCB sent a memo requiring all gaming licensees to complete the Licensee Workforce Vaccination Survey by January 21.
“Widespread vaccination of the industry’s workforce is essential to the health, safety, and prosperity of the industry itself, its workforce, and to state and local government,” the memo stated. “Therefore, submission of the information is mandatory.”
Casino Vaccination Center
To process as many vaccinations as possible, the Encore resort-casino in Las Vegas will double as a vaccination center. According to a press release from Wynn Resorts, a University Medical Center vaccination zone will be set up in the Encore’s empty convention space.
“We offered Encore as a vaccination location to help facilitate vaccine distribution as quickly and efficiently as possible throughout the Las Vegas Valley,” said Wynn CEO Matt Maddox in the news release.
The casino vaccination center can offer hundreds of vaccinations per day. At the front line of the Nevada vaccination list are health care workers, first responders, people 70 and older, and casino-resort workers.
In the NGCB survey, healthcare workers were the most willing to get the vaccine, followed by the age groups 55 and older, and 18-24. The 25-54 age group only rated at 50% to 60% in favor of vaccination. The survey revealed that with each level of additional education, the desire for vaccination rose by 5%.
There may be some resistance to the vaccine due to widespread conspiracy theories from anti-vaxxers who fear side effects more than COVID. And then there’s the foil-hat-wearing crowd who believe that vaccines carry tiny robots that will turn them into drones for Microsoft – or something equally ridiculous.
In the end, if the Nevada casino industry wants to move forward, the resort workers will have to (wo)man up, stick out their arms, and get their jabs. Maybe the governor can promise them a lollipop for bravery.