Nebraska is expanding its COVID-19 vaccine campaign again to include everyone 65 and older, those with multiple medical conditions, and essential workers who can’t work from home.
The previous expansion was for those 75 and older, but the federal guidance on who should be vaccinated next changed this week.
While much of Nebraska hasn’t started vaccinating those 75-plus yet and the state is still setting up an online registration system, the Panhandle has been signing up the 75+ group for more than 2 weeks and vaccinating them almost as long.
Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel says that as of Thursday, more than 3,000 people had signed up either online at https://tinyurl.com/ycpxzr5d, the preferred method, or by calling either 308-262-5764 or 308-633-2866 ext. 101.
Engel says the list is coordinated between local hospitals and vaccine providers, who then contact registered individuals when doses are available in their area. The only problem so far has been the limited amount of vaccine that’s come to the Panhandle.
The Northern Panhandle is a good example. Western Community Health Resources Director Sandy Montague Roes says her agency ran out of doses last week and is eagerly awaiting its next shipment to resume inoculations.
Roes says she can’t encourage those in the eligible populations, including those 65 and older, to sign up as soon as possible even if it may be a few weeks before vaccine is in.
As of Thursday afternoon, there had been 3,855 doses of vaccine administered in the Panhandle. Widespread public vaccination isn’t expected in April at the earliest as demand in the more at-risk populations still outstrips production.