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Don’t Be a Turkey, Get Holiday Ready Now

As Panhandle residents are anxiously preparing for friends and family get-togethers for the nearing holidays, people are encouraged to get their flu shot and updated COVID booster now to ensure maximum protection by Thanksgiving.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection for the shots to take full effect. The goal is to protect people from severe illness and hospitalization and vaccines are one of the best ways to do so.

Dr. James Lawler, Director of International Programs and Innovation at the Global Center for Health Security, estimates another COVID surge will happen across the country in mid to late November. In Nebraska, it’s likely to be around late December, possibly early January, with a magnitude similar to January 2022.

There is no combination flu and COVID vaccine planned for release at this time. However, people can get their flu shot and COVID booster on the same day. The new boosters are now available to provide increased protection against Omicron variants.

Knowing where you or your children are at in their COVID vaccine and booster series may be confusing but please reach out to a public health nurse to help understand what’s the best next step, contact Vianey Zitterkopf, RN at 308-430-8390 or Janet Pruneda, LPN at 308-672-4653. If you are homebound or have a condition that makes it hard to access a vaccine, you are also encouraged to contact Vianey or Janet.

When to get the updated COVID booster

At least 2 months after your last COVID dose – either a booster dose or your primary series.

Who should get the updated COVID booster

Individuals age 5 and up are eligible for the updated Pfizer booster, and individuals age 6 and up are eligible for the updated Moderna booster.

COVID vaccine, boosters, and flu shots are widely available across the Panhandle for individuals age 6 months and over.

Panhandle Vaccine Locations

  • Box Butte/Grant:safeway.com
    • Walk-ins welcome
    • Dave’s Pharmacy Hemingford & Alliance, Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 5:30 PM
    • Alliance Community Pharmacy, Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM – 6 PM
  • Cheyenne/Deuel: Call to schedule an appointment 308-254-5544 | walmart.com | safeway.com
  • Dawes/Sioux:walmart.com | safeway.com
    • Walk-ins welcome
    • Western Community Health Resources, Monday-Friday, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, Call 308-432-8979 to schedule an appointment outside these hours.
  • Garden: To schedule an appointment, call (308) 772-3283.
    • Regional West Garden County Clinic, Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Kimball: To schedule an appointment, call (308) 235-1966.
    • Walk-ins welcome Kimball Health Services, Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Morrill: Call to schedule an appointment
    • Walk-ins welcome
    • Morrill County Hospital Clinic (Bridgeport), Thursdays, 8 AM – 4:30 PM call 308-262-1755
    • Chimney Rock Medical Center (Bayard), Tuesdays, 8 AM – 4:30 PM call 308-586-1717
  • Sheridan: To schedule an appointment, call (308) 282-0401.
    • Walk-ins welcome
    • Gordon Rural Health Clinic, Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM and 1 PM – 4 PM
  • Scotts Bluff/Banner: walmart.com | safeway.com | walgreens.com
    • Walk-ins welcome
    • Gering CAPWN Health Center, Monday-Friday, 9 AM-12 PM & 1 PM-4 PM
    • Scotts Bluff County Immunization Clinic, 313 W 38th St, Monday-Friday, 9:30 AM-4:30 PM. If you need an evening appointment, please call 630-1126.

COVID Testing Access

Free COVID test kits are available at community locations throughout the Panhandle. Find a location near you at https://tinyurl.com/4fkydcfe.

Residents can have as many as their family needs with a limit of six at one time at no charge. These are important to have on hand so if you or a family member feels a minor COVID-like symptom, you can quickly test to make a decision about how to keep yourself and others that may be around you healthy and safe.

Once picked up, individuals can perform the test on their own or be helped through a video call. If done through the video call, you will receive a certified lab report that can be used for travel, medical procedures, and other documentation needs.

Current COVID testing access can also be found at http://pphd.org/COVID-19.html.

Panhandle COVID Dashboard Update

The Panhandle COVID dashboard provides region-wide data on COVID trends around the area and is available at http://www.pphd.org/COVID-19.html. The Nebraska respiratory illness dashboard is available at https://atlas-dhhs.ne.gov/Atlas/Respiratory_Illness. For the most up to date information from the CDC, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Panhandle Public Health District, Region 21, 22, and 23 Emergency Management, and Scotts Bluff County Health Department are working as a unified command on this evolving situation. Essential updates will be regularly communicated to the public and community partners.

Panhandle Public Health District is working together to improve the health, safety, and quality of life for all who live, learn, work, and play in the Panhandle. Our vision is that we are a healthier and safer Panhandle Community. Visit our website www.pphd.org.

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