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 – More than 84,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska. As of Sunday, more than 428,031 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).
Additionally, as of Sunday over 145,000 Nebraskans have completed vaccination, which represents 9.8% of Nebraskans aged 16 years of age and older.
Thus far, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those aged 16 years and older, and the Moderna vaccine approved for those aged 18 years and older.
Over the weekend, a third vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, gained Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. It is approved for use in individuals 18 years and older. The vaccine started shipping today and in coming days Nebraska will learn of allocations and arrival times.
For the week ending March 7, Nebraska is scheduled to receive 22,230 first doses and 18,720 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 18,400 first doses and 18,400 second doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Finish Strong Nebraska is the State's official COVID-19 vaccination campaign designed to keep the public motivated and informed on the vaccine. For more information and to register on the vaccine portal, visit FinishStrong.Ne.Gov. Once registered on the portal, Nebraska residents will be notified when COVID-19 vaccination begins in their area. A Spanish translation of the website is now available. To access, users should select Español from the language drop-down menu at the top-right side of the page.
As of March 1, over 220,409 Nebraskans have registered to receive the vaccine at vaccinate.ne.gov,
Those interested in registering will need to provide name and contact information, date of birth and answer health questions used to help determine priority group eligibility. Any information entered is strictly confidential and used solely for this purpose. Friends, family and caregivers are encouraged to assist others with vaccine sign-up if needed. The DHHS Information line can assist those with limited technology, language or Internet access, and is available by calling (531) 249-1873 or (833) 998-2275.
All Nebraska counties are vaccinating Phase 1B priority groups.
Local health departments and retail pharmacy partners are offering vaccines for Nebraskans 65 and older. Vaccination will expand to other 1B priority groups as supplies allow. Other groups include those working in critical industries 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.
DHHS is allocating doses via an existing vaccine network that includes local health departments, federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs), community-based clinics, and tribal health care centers across the state. A total of 135 sites across Nebraska receive vaccine shipments.
Community clinics with scheduled appointments are 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.
Mild side effects like a sore arm and fatigue are some of the most common symptoms with COVID-19 vaccines. While many people will have no symptoms, for others there can be headaches, chills or a fever. These side effects are normal and a sign your body is building protection, and you should be feeling better within a few days.
Those receiving their first dose are reminded to keep their vaccination record card in a safe place and take it to their second dose appointment.
In phase three clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine had 95% efficacy and the Moderna vaccine had 94% efficacy in preventing any severity of COVID-19. Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. A phase three clinical trial showed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had 66% efficacy at preventing any severity of COVID-19 (while being studied in regions with new variant strains of COVID-19), and only requires one dose. Comparatively, the flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60% effective. Each of these three authorized COVID-19 vaccines had 100% efficacy against COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. Since each of these COVID-19 vaccines work extremely well against the virus, individuals should feel confident they are reducing their risk when they choose to vaccinate. Moreover, every person who gets vaccinated is doing their part to help reduce spread and put an end to this global pandemic.
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 state is taking recommendations of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) into consideration. 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 and at virtual town halls. Each week, members of the DHHS team hold a mid-day Facebook Live session to discuss vaccine-related and pandemic-related topics. The Division of Public Health's Becky Wisell will discuss long-term care visitation updates for families of facility residents, at 12 pm CST on Thursday, March 4. For those unable to watch live, all sessions are archived and available on the video tab of the DHHS Facebook page and DHHS's website.
Online Town Halls this week include:
Saturday, March 6 at 11:30 am
Town Hall with Restoring Dignity Omaha
This town hall will be held with a refugee support organization called Restoring Dignity that will focus on the Karen refugee population. The event will be in the Karen language. To join, visit the Restoring Dignity Omaha Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RestoringDignityOmaha
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.