Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Community Newsletter – Jan. 29, 2021

Update on COVID-19 vaccine, more vaccine opportunities for seniors & the vaccine thaw process

Jan. 29, 2021. Reno/Sparks, NV – The Regional Information Center is providing a COVID-19 vaccine community newsletter in Washoe County to help educate residents on the mass vaccination effort by the COVID-19 Response Team and community partners.

Here are a few updates.

1. More than 40,000 vaccines have been administered in Washoe County 

Organizations in Washoe County have been busy administering vaccine.

The Washoe County Health District has administered over 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines as of Wednesday and Renown Health announced it has administered 17,000 vaccines.

The Regional Information Center is working to launch a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard that lists the total amount of vaccines administered in Washoe County by all community partners. It’s expected to be launched soon.

2. Vaccine opportunities for Seniors 70 years and older

Seniors 70 years and older have multiple opportunities to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine but are urged to be patient due to vaccine supply issues. The Regional Information Center has a Senior COVID-19 Vaccine Waiting list that can be accessed here (see a previous release about it here).We ask that you only sign up once.

There are several other options for seniors 70 years and older to receive the vaccine and we encourage eligible residents to explore all options to get the vaccine as soon as possible. If possible, please let the organizations know if you have already received it and need to be removed from any lists. Here are other organizations providing vaccines to seniors 70 years and older.

When more organizations offer vaccines to eligible seniors, you can find those organizations on our website, www.covid19washoevaccine.com.

3. Vaccine thaw process and expiration. Whenever a COVID-19 vaccine provider receives a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, there are protocols that must be followed that are outlined by the vaccine manufacture to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness.

The two COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration are Pfizer and Moderna. Below is the process for each vaccine and its path from arriving to the provider and eventually administered.


The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in what’s called Ultra Cold Storage, which is -80 to -60 degrees Celsius or -112 to -76 Fahrenheit. The Pfizer shipment of COVID-19 vaccine come in trays. Each tray has 195 vials. Each vial has six doses.

To thaw the Pfizer vaccine, an entire tray must be taken out of the Ultra Cold Storage and put into a regular refrigerator (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for three hours. Once thawed, we have five days to use it. Each vial of Pfizer must be diluted with a small amount of Sodium Chloride solution, which is the same concentration of salt that occurs in tears and other cells in the body. An undiluted vial can sit at room temperature for up to two hours before expiring; if diluted it can last six hours.


The Moderna vaccine comes frozen at a typical freezer temperature and must be stored between -13- and 5-degrees Fahrenheit. This vaccine does not require dilution and expires after 30 days once it is thawed in a refrigerator (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit). Each vial includes 10 doses.

To thaw the Moderna vaccine, we remove it from freezer and let it thaw for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator. A vial of Moderna vaccine can sit at room temperature between 46 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 12 hours. Once a vial is punctured, it has six hours until it expires.

For all COVID-19 Vaccine questions, please visit our regional website, www.COVID19WashoeVaccine.com.

Please share: If you know of someone who wants to receive this newsletter, pass along the link to sign up. https://covid19washoe.com/signup/

The COVID-19 Regional Information Center is working together to deliver COVID-19 community updates in a unified manner. While press releases are only sent periodically for significant events, you can always get daily results on our website, https://covid19washoe.com/, our COVID-19 Dashboard or by following us on Twitter @COVID19Washoe. The entities include: City of Reno, City of Sparks, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Regional Transportation Commission, REMSA, Reno Sparks Indian Colony, Reno Police Department, Reno Fire Department, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, University of Nevada, Reno, Washoe County, Washoe County Health District, Washoe County School District and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. Also in the group are the area hospitals, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Renown Health and Saint Mary’s.