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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.
Today marks the last vaccine-focused weekly news release. Vaccine data will continue to be shared in the weekly COVID-19 release on Wednesdays.
Lincoln – More than 49,016 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska, and as of Sunday, more than 1,499,291 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 701,510 Nebraskans have completed vaccination, which represents 47.3% 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 Retail 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 https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/retail-pharmacy-program/participating-pharmacies.html.
The state is currently vaccinating all Nebraskans 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 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.
Vaccine orders for the week ending May 16 are currently being processed by DHHS. Projected orders will be provided in the Wednesday press release.
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 381,219 Nebraskans with an average age of 51.3 years 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.
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.
As of Tuesday, May 4, 777 variant cases have been identified. Of that total, there are 671 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant (U.K.), which is more contagious than the original strain of coronavirus and is the most dominant strain in the U.S. Other variants present in Nebraska are 84 cases of the B.1.427/B.1.429 variant (California), 6 of the B1.526 variant (New York), 6 cases of the B.1.351 variant (South Africa) and 10 cases of the P.1 variant (Brazil).
Basic precautions are the best defense against COVID-19 until you get a vaccine. 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.
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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