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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccine Update

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

Lincoln, Neb. – More than 29,500 vaccine doses were administered in the last seven days in Nebraska. As of Sunday, 106,203 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to those in Phase 1 priority groups, 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.

First doses have been given to more than 75 percent of Nebraska’s 90,000 health care workers so far, with more than 15,000 receiving a second dose.

Vaccination continues for residents and staff of Nebraska’s long-term care facilities. Residents and staff at more than 428 facilities have received their first vaccine dose. Second dose clinics are beginning this week.

Nebraska is scheduled to receive 11,700 Pfizer and 11,800 Moderna first doses this week, and 11,200 Moderna second doses.

Local health departments are coordinating vaccination for priority groups. Health departments are progressing at different speeds for vaccination and Phase 1B is projected to begin at the start of February for most areas of the state.

Phase 1B now includes those 65 and older, those who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19, as well as workers in critical industries who are unable to work remotely. The high-risk group will include those with medical conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as increasing the risk for severe COVID-19.

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 workers.

Many local health departments are offering electronic signup to be notified when vaccination begins in their area. Those newly eligible for Phase 1B should visit their local health department website to register. Family members and caregivers are encouraged to assist if needed.

The DHHS COVID-19 hotline can also help navigate the sign-up process in your area, and is available at (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.

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 need to provide basic information to determine Phase 1 eligibility and will be notified when clinics begin in their area.

Community clinics with scheduled appointments will be the primary way vaccine doses are given while the vaccine supply remains 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.

COVID-19 vaccines are not yet available to the public and it’s expected to be late spring before mass vaccination begins. Nebraskans are reminded that while vaccine supply is limited, 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 still critical to limiting infection.

The Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine 94% effective in phase three clinical trials. Comparatively, the flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60% effective. Neither vaccine contains a live virus and cannot give individuals COVID-19. Two vaccine doses are needed to reach full effectiveness against COVID-19, and the same brand of vaccine must be administered for both doses.

The state is following the recommendations of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Priority groups and timing projections remain tentative and will be adjusted as federal recommendations are issued and as vaccine shipments are scheduled.

A link to the COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard can be found at the top of the DHHS COVID-19 Cases dashboard, and can be accessed at this link for users of most browsers, or via this link for those using Internet Explorer.

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