COVID-19 vaccinations come to a crawl in parts of Nebraska

Health officials worry at this rate, herd immunity will not be reached
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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NEMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - COVID-19 vaccinations are slowing down across the United States and now in parts of Nebraska, they’re coming to a crawl.

“The people wanting the vaccine are nowhere to be found,” Marty Fattig, CEO, Nemaha County Hospital, noting at the height of the vaccine rollout they were doling out roughly 400 shots a week.

This week they are set to give 40 or 50 doses of the vaccine and with less than 37% of their eligible population fully vaccinated, it’s a concern.

“We tend not to be able to fill our vaccination clinics. We have excess vaccine,” said Fattig. “We have not wasted any but we certainly don’t have arms to put it in.”

A sharp contrast to just a few months ago when people were eager to sign up. “We were inundated with people when it was the 65 and older group,” said Fattig.

In hopes of getting more people they’re now welcoming walk-ins, but so far not so good.

“Numbers were not great for that,” said Susi VonBergen, COO, Nemaha County Hospital. “So we then changed to this week we’re going to be doing a walk-in clinic and changed the hours to 4 to 7 in the evening, and hope that increases the number of walk-ins.”

And it’s not just Nemaha County experiencing the drop, weekly calls with all five counties making up the Southeast Health District reveal more of the same.

“Every facility that speaks at that call, they all say the same thing, they’re all seeing dips in numbers,” said VonBergen. “It is surprising when you reach a point when people aren’t willing to take vaccine whether it’s due to social media, or misinformation in the public, and becomes a little bit frustrating.”

When asked what can be done to get more people on board with the vaccine, she said, “I wish there were an easy answer. I honestly don’t know if anybody knows what can be done, other than providing the proper information to the public so they can make a wise and informed decision about the vaccine.”

Health officials worried if people stop now that critical herd immunity will not be met.

“If this is the end of the vaccines, how do we head off this pandemic?” said Fattig.

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