The office of Dr. Merrit W. Dunlap, a Carson City family physician since 1999 and native Nevadan, put nearly 2,500 shots in arms since January in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Dunlap, his staff, and several volunteers held 12 drive-through vaccine clinics during January through April at the top floor of the Casino Fandango parking garage.
The small medical office made up of Dr. Dunlap, three medical assistants and an office manager, committed to doing vaccines for the community back in December. “I felt it was an ethical obligation to do whatever I could to help bring about an end to this pandemic,” Dunlap said. “When I asked my staff how they felt about spending days out in the cold and wind to do this they didn't hesitate in giving their full support and were all in.”
According to Dunlap, “Finding volunteers was amazingly easy, and people absolutely wanted to help.” Volunteers for the vaccine clinics included local retired and practicing physicians, a retired medical assistant and dentist, as well as several community members who were there to make a difference in fighting the virus. Dr. Ed Rose, a retired Carson City family physician said, “As a patient and colleague of Dr Dunlap’s I felt privileged to volunteer at the vaccine clinics. It was gratifying to see so many appreciative patients.” Rose added, “Dr. Dunlap and his staff did a great job and performed a wonderful service for his patients and the community. “
“I am so proud to have been a small part of the solution to this pandemic,” said Dunlap’s medical assistant Sarah Ferris who was born and raised in the Carson City area. “It was heartwarming to see the joy on patients faces as they were getting their vaccines. The one thing I heard over and over again from our older patients, with tear filled eyes, was ‘The first thing I’m going to do is hug my grandkids!’ It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of that statement,” she added.
Court Cardinal, president and general manager of Casino Fandango said, “I was so excited when Dr. Dunlap approached me about potentially using some of my space on property to hold his COVID-19 vaccination clinics.” At the time he wanted to start the vaccinations, there were very stringent restrictions regarding how many people could be in the casino. “The idea to have drive-through clinics at the parking garage became the perfect solution,” Cardinal said. “To be able to be a part of helping so many people in the community during these difficult times was an easy decision.”
Dr. Dunlap has been affiliated with MDVIP since 2013. MDVIP is a national company that operates a network of physicians who practice preventative medicine and personalized primary-care medicine. Prior to joining MDVIP, Dr. Dunlap practiced family medicine at Carson Medical Group and was a physician in the U.S. Navy. “This was, without question, the most rewarding thing I have done in my 28 years as a physician,” Dunlap said.