Panhandle Hospitals Start COVID-19 Vaccinations For Staff

      Healthcare facilities around the Panhandle started COVID-19 vaccinations to medical professionals Tuesday afternoon, the first of three levels of Phase 1 vaccinations taking place across Nebraska.

      Chadron Community Hospital posted to social media that it had received the first 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine with 10 caregivers, led by Dr Megan Schuckman, volunteering for shots. The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose in 4 weeks.

       Chadron Community has a vaccine roll-out plan for front-line staff and will continue vaccinations over the next several weeks. The vaccine is expected to be made available to the general public in early spring. 

     In Scottsbluff, Regional West Physicians Clinic Acting President Dr Jeffrey Holloway and Regional West Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matthew Bruner were the first two staffers there to receive the vaccine. 

        Sidney Regional Medical Center CEO Jason Petik, Quality Manager Bob Kentner, and CFO Kelly Utley led the way there with a video of the shots being administered posted to social media.

      Morrill County Community Hospital staff in Bridgeportcelebrated with a Facebook montage of the first 27 staffers to get vaccinated, including several first responders.

      Through trials, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have proven to be 94% effective with 6% who did develop COVID-19 having only mild symptoms. 

       Public health officials are emphasizing that until the vaccines are widely available to the general public, everyone still needs to practice social distancing, regular hand washing, wearing a mask in public, and self-monitoring for symptoms.