Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccine Update

News Release
For Immediate Release: 4/19/2021

Khalilah LeGrand, (402) 471-9313,


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 vaccination is proceeding in your area.​

Lincoln – More than 211,057 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska, and as of Sunday, more than 1,275,955 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in total in Nebraska, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Additionally, as of Sunday, over 539,061 Nebraskans have completed vaccination, which represents 36.3% of residents aged 16 years of age and older.

These numbers include all vaccinations that took place in Nebraska last week, including through federal entities, such as the Indian Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Pharmacy Program. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program  is coordinated and managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and participating pharmacies in the state have signed up and been approved by the federal government.  For more on the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, visit the CDC website

Please note that the DHHS data quality team discovered a duplication error during a recent review. This was a result of a vendor coding error.  The correction resulted in a decrease in death counts and cumulative hospitalizations.  However, the error and subsequent correction did not impact any of the testing or hospital capacity metrics.  

The state is currently vaccinating all Nebraskans between the ages 16-49. Thus far, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those aged 16 years and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccines have been approved for those aged 18 years and older. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots; Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot.

For the week ending April 25, Nebraska is scheduled to receive 28,080 first doses and 26,910 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine; 20,700 first doses and 19,200 second doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine is currently on hold.

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 this morning, over 371,531 Nebraskans have registered to receive the vaccine at

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.

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 in phase 3 clinical trials. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine was the only one to be tested on variant strains of COVID-19 and only requires one dose. 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. 

On Friday, April 16, DHHS) and the Nebraska Public Health Lab (NPHL) confirmed that the South Africa variant of COVID-19, known as B.1.351, has arrived in the state. The initial case has been identified as a Lancaster County resident. An investigation is underway and ongoing. The identified B.1.351 variant has been spreading throughout the United States, but has been identified less frequently than other variants. CDC estimates less than 1% of sequenced,specimens are B.1.351 throughout the United States. Testing platforms like Test Nebraska and others will still produce a “positive" result for the identified B.1.351 variant (and other variants). B.1.351 appears more contagious than standard SARS-CoV-2 strains. It is expected that vaccinations will remain effective, although some bench studies show higher levels of antibodies are required to neutralize B.1.351 than the level of antibodies required to neutralize standard SARS-CoV-2 strains.

In addition to the first case of the B.1.351 variant, as of Friday, 291 additional variant cases have been identified in the state:  234 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 (UK) variant, 54 cases of the B1.427/B1.429 (California) variant, 1 of B1.526 (New York) variant, and 2 cases of the P1 (Brazilian) variant. 

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 and using Nebraska-specific data to determine prioritization. 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. 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.

On Wednesday, April 21 from 12 pm to 1 pm, DHHS is joining forces with the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Erickson Sederstrom, P.C, L.L.O. for an online town hall with small business owners and business leaders throughout the state. DHHS leaders will provide an update on the virus, the variants discovered in Nebraska, and statewide vaccination efforts.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread economic disruption that severely challenged the Nebraska business community. Through the pandemic, the NE Chamber has focused on delivering critical information to help all Nebraska business owners respond and adjust to evolving conditions, guidance, regulations and recovery and relief programs.

To access this Zoom webinar, register at The webinar ID is 979 0794 0579.

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.

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