Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director says updated COVID vaccine coming at a ‘crucial time’

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:54 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The CDC has approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine for this fall and winter. The updated vaccine has been approved for everyone age six months and older.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department said it’s awaiting final guidance from the federal government and will provide more information on availability of the updated vaccine in the near future.

The updated vaccine is also being offered at some pharmacies. The health department suggests contacting your local pharmacy or visit to check locations and availability. Those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last two months, are eligible to get the updated vaccine.

LLCHD data shows COVID-19 cases are holding steady. Wastewater analysis shows a slight increase in viral particles detected.

According to LLCHD, vaccination remains one of the best defenses against COVID-19. The updated vaccine targets omicron variant XBB.1.5, which is closely related to other variants currently circulating and causing the most illnesses in the U.S.

“The updated vaccine is coming at crucial time,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “We expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in the months ahead along with other respiratory viruses. We recommend residents get the updated vaccine as soon as it’s available locally so they have heightened protection as we move into fall and winter.”

COVID-19 at-home test kits are now available in the main lobby of the Health Department during regular business hours and at all Lincoln City Library locations.

LLCHD health officials also recommend residents take an at-home test or get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been exposed to someone with the virus, and to stay home if sick. Lincoln and Lancaster County residents can report results of their at-home COVID-19 tests to the Health Department. All information is confidential. Those requiring assistance completing the form may call LLCHD at 402-441-8006.

For those who have COVID-19 and are more likely to get very sick, the health department said treatments like Paxlovid are available that can reduce risk of hospitalization and death. Treatment must be started within days after symptoms first develop to be effective. Even if you have mild symptoms, it’s important to contact a healthcare provider immediately to determine eligibility for treatment.

For more information on COVID-19-related topics, visit or call the LLCHD at 402-441-8006.