ATTENTION: Questions from the public about vaccines can be directed to the COVID-19 information line at (531) 249-1873 or (833) 998-2275. Please visit your local health department's website for more information on how priority group vaccination is proceeding in your area.
Lincoln, Neb. – More than 46,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska. As of Sunday, more than 184,000 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).
As of Sunday, nearly 48,250 Nebraskans have completed vaccination, which represents 3.25% of Nebraskans aged 16 or older.
Thus far, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those aged 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine approved for those aged 18 and older.
First dose vaccinations for Phase 1A priority groups are being finalized, and second dose clinics are being scheduled appropriately to complete vaccination in the coming weeks. Phase 1A included health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
Beginning this week, all Nebraska counties expect to be vaccinating Phase 1B priority groups. Nebraskans notified that vaccination is available in their area are encouraged to schedule an appointment through their local health department. Douglas and Lancaster Counties continue to use their online portals for vaccine registration and online appointment scheduling.
DHHS has launched a website to help Nebraskans register to be notified when COVID-19 vaccination begins in their area. The site has received more than 100,000 registrations so far.
Nebraskans eligible for Phase 1B who have not already registered with a local health department are encouraged to register on the state site, available at vaccinate.ne.gov.
Phase 1B priority groups include those 65 and older, those 18 and older who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19, and those working in critical industries who are unable to work remotely, including: first responders, educators and daycare providers, those in the utilities and transportation sectors, corrections staff, and those working in food processing and at grocery stores.
For residents outside of Douglas and Lancaster Counties, those 18 to 64 with a high-risk medical condition who did not log medical conditions when registering with their local health department are encouraged to use the state website to register and help ensure prioritization in Phase 1B. DHHS will migrate registration lists to the appropriate local health department.
Registration allows individuals to receive updates, scheduling information and follow-up reminders about vaccination. Those registering will need to provide name and contact information, as well as a date of birth, occupation and answers to health questions used to determine priority group eligibility. Any information entered is strictly confidential and will be used solely to determine phase eligibility for the vaccine.
Family members and caregivers are encouraged to assist others with vaccine sign-up if needed. The DHHS Information line is available to help those with limited or no phone or Internet access. A Spanish version of the website is in development. The registration site is available to Nebraska residents only.
This week, Nebraska is scheduled to receive 27,200 first doses, including 11,700 Pfizer doses and 15,500 Moderna doses. Second doses shipments scheduled for this week total 22,900, including 11,700 Pfizer doses and 11,200 Moderna doses.
DHHS is allocating doses via an existing vaccine network that includes local health departments, federally qualified health centers, community-based clinics, and tribal health care centers across the state. More than 115 sites across Nebraska receive vaccine shipments.
Local health departments are coordinating vaccination for Phase 1 priority groups.
Community clinics with scheduled appointments will be the primary way vaccine doses are given while vaccine supplies remain limited in order to help ensure all doses can be used in the required timeframe. Community clinics are staggering appointments to observe social distancing and are providing 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 basic precautions are the best defense against COVID-19 while vaccine supplies are limited. You can be #BigRedResponsible by wearing a mask. Additionally, watching your distance, washing hands often, staying home when you're sick, and avoiding the 3Cs – crowded places, close contact with others, and confined spaces – remain critical to preventing infection and controlling spread.
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. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Two 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.
To follow Nebraska's COVID-19 vaccination progress, please visit the COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard.
DHHS continues to share new information via the Coronavirus website, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Each Thursday, members of the DHHS Immunization team hold a mid-day Facebook Live session to answer vaccine-related questions. All sessions are archived and available on the video tab of the DHHS Facebook page.
In addition, the DHHS COVID-19 information line is available to help answer questions on COVID-19 or vaccination. Available by calling (531) 249-1873 or (833) 998-2275, the line is staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. Call volumes may be high and patience is appreciated.