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Vaccines becoming more available to Nebraskans

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lancaster County residents 18 and older are now eligible to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccines become more widely available, top health officials say, the shot is the way out of the pandemic.

The Nebraska Health Department is just one organization making vaccines more available. Costco announced that individuals can start scheduling appointments at their Lincoln and Omaha locations, and CVS announced that vaccinations will be happening at 11 locations in Nebraska starting on Wednesday.

If you are in Grand Island, La Vista, Lincoln, Norfolk or Omaha, you can sign up as soon as tomorrow to get a show at CVS.

RelyCare in Lincoln was one of the first pharmacies to participate in the Federal Retail Program. It said it’s given out close to 6,000 doses, and are now renting out another property to give even more.

“Now we can go ahead and instead of just running a second-dose Moderna clinic, we can open up another first-dose Moderna Clinic during those same days,” said Steve Osbaugh, RelyCare.

Governor Pete Ricketts said that’s been the goal all along, to get as many shots in arms as quickly as possible.

“Getting vaccinated is how we work our way through this pandemic,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Once we have enough people with antibodies... That’s when we see the transmission of the virus stop.”

According to public data in Nebraska, about 29% of people 16 and older are fully vaccinated. In Lancaster County, that number is higher at about 34%.

“That is a good start, but I would emphasize that means a lot of Nebraskans still haven’t been vaccinated,” said Dr. Mark Rupp, Internal Medicine, UNMC.

The fear is having more vaccines than people who want them.

“If we have vaccine, we need to be giving it,” said Dr. Rupp.

Dr. Rupp and Governor Ricketts said the messaging about vaccines has stayed consistent throughout.

“Look, this will keep you out of the hospital and prevent you from dying,” said Gov. Ricketts. “This is a way to protect yourself, your family from getting the virus. Ultimately, this is how we get back to normal life and through this pandemic.”

Dr. Rupp said the state needs to reach about 80-85% vaccinated to really reach herd immunity.

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