More than 38,000 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska. As of Sunday, 76,882 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to those in Phase 1A priority group, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In accordance with federal guidelines, Nebraska launched its Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program December 28, 2020.
The federal pharmacy program for four weeks received 100% of the incoming Pfizer allocation to support efforts in Nebraska’s long-term care facilities (LTFCs). This week is the last week that the full Pfizer allocation will be 100% reserved for the Federal Pharmacy Program.
As well, first doses have been given to more than 40 percent of Nebraska’s 90,000 health care workers so far, with nearly 10,000 receiving a second dose.
Nebraska’s COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard is available and provides a picture of how Nebraska’s vaccination effort is progressing over time. The dashboard provides a daily total vaccinations given, as well as breakdown of first and second doses given by age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
It also reports the percent of the population aged 16 and older completing COVID-19 vaccination. Thus far, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those aged 16 years and older, and the Moderna vaccine has been approved for those aged 18 years and older.
A link to the COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard can be found at the top of the DHHS COVID-19 Cases dashboard. It can be accessed at this link for users of most browsers or via this link for those using Internet Explorer.
Nebraska currently receives about 23,000 first doses a week, in addition to shipments of second doses.
Community clinics with scheduled appointments will be the primary way vaccine doses are given while the vaccine supply remain limited to help ensure all doses can be used in the required timeframe. Community clinics will stagger appointments in order to observe social distancing and provide space for monitoring after vaccination.
Vaccinations for those 75 and older are the top priority in Phase 1B, and will widely begin in the second half of January, or as vaccination for Phase 1A groups conclude and doses are available.
Local health departments are coordinating vaccination for priority groups. Many are still working through Phase 1A groups, but are taking the names of those in Phase 1B who are interested in being vaccinated.
To find out if your local health department is taking names, please visit their website or call their office. Family members and caregivers of those aged 75 or older are encouraged to assist with vaccine sign-up if needed.
The DHHS COVID-19 hotline can also help navigate the sign-up process in your area, and is available at (402) 552-6645, or toll-free (833) 998-2275. The hotline is staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. Call volumes may be high and patience is appreciated.
Health departments are progressing at different speeds for vaccination.
Other populations included in Phase 1B are those working in critical industries unable to work remotely, including: first responders, educators, those in the utilities and transportation sectors, and food processing and agricultural workers. Vaccination for these groups will follow doses given to those 75 and older.
In the coming weeks DHHS will launch a website to help Nebraskans register for COVID-19 vaccination and receive updates, scheduling information and follow-up reminders. Those interested in registering will be asked to provide basic information to help determine eligibility, according to priority groups and phases outlined in Nebraska’s vaccination plan, and be notified when clinics begin in your area.
While vaccine supplies are limited, Nebraskans are reminded that basic precautions are the best defense against COVID-19. Wearing a mask, watching your distance, washing hands often, staying home when you’re sick, and avoiding the 3C’s – crowded places, close contact with others, and confined spaces – are critical to limiting infection.