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Pace of vaccinations in Nebraska is increasing, although some are tardy in getting second shot
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Pace of vaccinations in Nebraska is increasing, although some are tardy in getting second shot

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A top Nebraska pandemic official says the state’s vaccination program is building momentum and will add a new set of locations as soon as next week.

But even as Nebraska’s doses increase, Gov. Pete Ricketts cautioned Friday that it could take a few months to work through the state’s priority group of people 65 and older.

Details also remain thin about Nebraska’s participation in a new COVID-19 vaccine program through some Walmarts and certain locally owned pharmacies.

Still, Angie Ling, incident commander for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, said Nebraska on Thursday recorded a daily high for doses administered — 14,231 shots.

Ling noted Grand Island vaccinated 1,000 people in drive-thru clinics at Fonner Park, Lincoln was to vaccinate 4,500 people on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena, and Douglas County is vaccinating between 700 and 2,500 people at each of multiple community sites.

“We plan to keep this momentum moving forward,” Ling said.

Highlights of Nebraska’s vaccine efforts:

* Nebraska’s vaccine doses are increasing. The state received 15,500 Moderna shots this week to be given as primary vaccination doses, and that is set to rise to 17,000 next week. The state’s Pfizer allotment remains at 11,700 primary doses for this week and next.

But Ricketts, speaking at a Friday news conference, said he was on a call with Pfizer’s CEO Thursday, and Nebraska expects to receive additional Pfizer doses later this month.

Ricketts said Nebraska has 500,000 people in the Phase 1B priority group, which includes people ages 65 and older, and perhaps 400,000 of those will want the vaccine.

The governor said the state still anticipates it will take a few months to vaccinate that population. As to the pace ahead, Ricketts said, “A lot will depend on how much vaccine we get.”

* Nebraska will join a new federal vaccine program administered through pharmacies. That program is different from a federal pharmacy program administering shots at long-term care facilities. And it’s separate from the allotment going to local health districts that are administering shots at community vaccination clinics.

Ling said the state hasn’t received a list of participating pharmacies, but she cited participation of select Walmarts and local pharmacies that work with suppliers AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health.

The state expects to receive more information soon, Ling said, and the program could begin next week.

Ling said the state will submit a plan in the coming days for additional support. She said Nebraska would request funding to assist local vaccination efforts, not additional staff from outside the state.

* Ling encouraged people who are due for a second, booster vaccine to schedule an appointment.

Some 6,000 people already are late for their second shot.

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