• COVID-19
  • Renown Health

Update: Renown's COVID-19 Vaccine Program Increasing Demand from 70+ Exceeds Limited Supply

January 18, 2021

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In order to quickly vaccinate additional residents of Washoe County age 70 and older, Renown Health has partnered with the Washoe County Health District to help distribute the initially available, limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. Due to the unprecedented demand of local residents, Renown now has a full “waiting list” for those interested in the COVID-19 vaccine, and will be working through the list to offer appointments as they become available. 

Renown continues to vaccinate physicians and its essential workforce for COVID-19, and to provide nasal swab testing for those with a lab order from their provider, for COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, Renown has stretched to support the Washoe County Health District to meet the needs of those aged 70 and older who are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Over this past weekend, more than 3,000 of Washoe County’s oldest residents were able to obtain an appointment, and receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Renown’s Drive Thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Please see b-roll, photos and fly-over footage here.

Eligibility is one thing; availability is another.

The County provided Renown with another 3,000 vaccines to administer this weekend. Renown posted 3,000 appointments for those on the MyChart electronic waiting list and 100% of appointments were booked within an hour.

“We want to help the Health District, and we are working to vaccinate as many people as possible, given our limited staffing, volunteers, space and vaccine,” says Melodie Osborn, RN, Chief Nursing & Quality Officer for Health Services. “We are glad to step in and help; and our goal is to always provide an exceptional vaccine experience. Our team and our systems are definitely feeling the pressure as we see unprecedented demand for this vaccine. We ask the public to be patient with us, and to help support us in this important work.”

Scheduling limited

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, the second administered three to four weeks after the first. Renown is working to be sure those who receive their first dose also obtain their second dose in a timely manner. This includes 7,000 physicians and health care workers, and will now include those older adults vaccinated with their first dose. The complexity of the vaccine dosage requirements continues to draw down on the number of vaccines and appointments available. 

Renown MyChart and phone systems strained under the demand

Last Thursday, when Renown announced that those who are 75 years or older could join the waiting list by downloading Renown Epic MyChart, so many people logged in that the system was strained to accommodate the additional demand. Renown has now doubled the capacity of the Epic MyChart system to be sure all goes smoothly. 

Renown Health has been able to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to a record number of people in the shortest possible time. Much of this success is due to the use of Epic MyChart, a convenient patient electronic medical record which allows people to schedule their appointments online, complete the consent form and have full documentation for the future. In addition, the information automatically posts to Web IZ Nevada’s Statewide Immunization Information System.

Also last Thursday, older adults without cell phones, computers or someone to assist them, called Renown’s customer service phone line for assistance. So many people called the phone line that it crashed. Service has been restored, but is limited, due to the hundreds of calls coming in daily that are answered by a limited number of trained staff members.

Medically-trained vaccinators needed

To expand capacity and to assist in the administration of vaccines, Renown Health is seeking those who are medically trained to give vaccinations to join their team on a seasonal basis to support the health and well-being of our community. Those who are trained and interested may apply online at https://careers.renown.org/

Register for MyChart which puts you on the waiting list to receive the vaccine

Renown encourages anyone interested in getting on the waiting list to register for a Renown MyChart account if you have not done so already. Doing so will add you to the list of people aged 70 and over waiting for an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please do not contact a Renown doctor/health care provider at this time to schedule a vaccine appointment. Due to unprecedented demand, Renown is coordinating with local and state agencies to ensure every person has an opportunity to receive the vaccine over time. 

You are advised not to receive the vaccine if:

  • You are ill at the time of vaccination (fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea or acute illness)
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days
  • You have received any other vaccination in the last 14 days
  • You have a history of significant allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its ingredients

Support the Renown team

Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, is so grateful for our community’s support during these unprecedented times. To donate to help Renown help our community, visit https://www.renown.org/donations-covid19/.


About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.


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