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Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Lincoln – More than 97,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered last week in Nebraska. As of Sunday, more than 828,764 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to those in Phase 1 and Phase 2A priority groups, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Additionally, as of Sunday over 310,267 Nebraskans have completed vaccination, which represents 20.9% of Nebraskans aged 16 years of age and older.

The state is now vaccinating those Nebraskans in Group 2A – those 50 years of age and older, as well as those working in critical industries of any age – in all counties. 10 percent of all allocations are being administered to those of all ages with serious underlying health conditions.  Some areas of the state are moving to additional tiers. Local health departments can advise which group they are currently vaccinating.

Directed Health Measures (DHM) that went into effect today allow for the Federal Retail Pharmacy program to start vaccinating those 18 years of age and older.   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.

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.

For the week ending April 4, Nebraska is scheduled to receive 25,740 first doses and 25,740 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as 18,400 first doses and 18,400 second doses of the Moderna vaccine. The state is currently not expecting to receive any doses of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine this week.

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 March 29, over 328,373 Nebraskans 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. 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.

DHHS and the Nebraska Public Health Lab (NPHL) confirmed the first two known cases of the Brazil variant of COVID-19, known as P.1, in the state. As of Friday, March 26, 51 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, 31 cases of the B1.429 variant, and 2 cases of the P.1 variant have been identified in Nebraska

Nebraskans are reminded that basic precautions are the best defense against COVID-19 while vaccine supplies are limited. 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. Each Thursday, members of the DHHS team hold a mid-day Facebook Live session to discuss vaccine-related and pandemic-related topics. For those unable to watch live, all sessions are archived and available on the video tab of the DHHS Facebook page and DHHS’s website.

On Saturday April 3, at 4:00 p.m., the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will be partnering with the Karen Society of Nebraska for an online town hall where health officials and medical experts can answer questions from the Karen community about the COVID-19 vaccine and hear their concerns.  The town hall will be in the Karen language. Click on the ZOOM link to attend:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89629516381. Meeting ID: 896 2951 6381

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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