After a slowdown during the holidays, COVID-19 vaccinations are picking up across the state and in central Nebraska.
In Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties, the Central District Health Department has been vaccinating pharmacists and pharmacy employees who deal with the public. Long-term care facilities also have been arranging vaccinations through local pharmacies for their elderly residents as people 75 and older are next in line.
The CDHD also has been developing a plan to vaccinate educators and will begin vaccinating health care workers who do not work directly with COVID-19 patients, as well as people over 90 who live in their own homes, next week.
“We want to move as quickly as we can and I know there is a lot of criticism right now,” CDHD Health Director Teresa Anderson said on Tuesday.
The state of Nebraska reported that 13,732 vaccinations were administered Tuesday, a huge jump from the previous daily high of 4,210 on Dec. 23.
Anderson explained that the local health department has had to wait until more vaccine could get to this area of the state, but it will be distributing the vaccine as soon as it gets it.
They also are focusing on signing up more places in the three-county area to be vaccine distributors.
“The COVID-19 vaccine providers have to apply. If a clinic wants to do that, then they have to make a special application,” she said.
“The holdup right now is that the vaccine can only be delivered to places that are COVID-19 vaccine providers.”
U-Save Pharmacy Northwest, which has had its employees vaccinated during the past couple of weeks, is one of those who have signed up to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. The pharmacy expects to receive the Moderna vaccine and has a freezer in place to properly store it when it receives it.
Anderson said getting more clinics and pharmacies signed up as distributors will help take the workload off the CDHD and, therefore, speed up distribution of the vaccine.
U-Save co-owner Mark Miller said that when U-Save receives the vaccine, people can just show up and “staff will be available at all times” to administer the vaccine. He does not anticipate there being any cost for people to receive the vaccine.
Everyone who qualifies to receive the vaccine before it’s generally available to the public should take that opportunity. As more and more people are vaccinated, we will build up a wall against the coronavirus and reduce the risk to all of us.
The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been determined to be safe and approved for use throughout the United States. The vaccination of more people in our area is good news as we continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing in public places.