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Nebraska COVID-19 vaccination sign-up delayed; more rollout details expected next week

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts gave an update on the state's COVID-19  response on Friday, Jan. 8,...
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts gave an update on the state's COVID-19 response on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:06 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - State officials said Monday they are planning to launch the website for Nebraskans to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations in late January, but that information on specific eligibility for the vaccine will be coming from local health departments.

Originally, the plan was to unveil the state’s vaccine registration website ahead of the next phase, but that may no longer be the case, according to Angie Ling with the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We acknowledge that the registration system is slightly behind schedule. But we have been working on this for quite a while and want to ensure Nebraska has a sound product so that we are not having problems that other states are seeing,” Ling said during the governor’s news conference Monday morning.

DHHS plans to post a list next week of all the places Nebraskans will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Local health departments will be providing information about exactly when the next phase is scheduled to begin, Ling said.

Those without internet access will be able to get the same information via the hotline. The hotline is currently inactive, though will be active at the same time as the website.

VACCINE HOTLINE: More information regarding the Nebraska COVID-19 vaccination process is available at 402-552-6645 or toll-free at 833-998-2275.

According to DHHS, the website will allow for a resident to input basic information such as name, birthdate, occupation, contact information, and a few health questions in order to find out which phase the registrant qualifies. Those falling into the current phase of deployment will be able to register for a vaccine through the site or be able to register through select providers; others will be placed on a waitlist to be notified about scheduling at a later date, according to the DHHS.

Information on a second dose will be sent the same way, officials said.

Ling also gave a report on the progress of COVID-19 vaccine distribution throughout Nebraska. According to Ling and the DHHS vaccine dashboard, there have been 141,428 total vaccines distributed to date; 76,882 total vaccinations administered, 38,000 administered last week alone; and 9,840 second doses administered.

A total of 0.66% of the population ages 16 and older have been vaccinated. Ling said Nebraska is one of the top states in percentage of doses used.

Nebraska is also making sure that no COVID-19 vaccine doses go to waste. If there are extra doses available where it is being administered, those doses will be administered to someone within that community even if they fall outside the current phase of the vaccine rollout.

Ling also touched on vaccine distribution for some rural areas, saying the process may be slightly different in order to avoid wasting doses. Instead of Phase 1A receiving the vaccination in sections, an entire 1A rural population may be vaccinated at once. The DHHS believes this will allow for optimal administration in some rural areas.

More than 70 National Guard members will also be helping with vaccinations, Ling said.

“These members will be working directly with the local health departments,” she said.

Gov. Pete Ricketts also reported that the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline. On Monday, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard had a count of 475 hospitalizations — half the peak the state saw in November, Ricketts said. He continues to urge Nebraskans to utilize Test Nebraska and sign up for free testing, noting that results for that testing continue to have a turnaround time of 24 hours or less.

Also on Monday, Gov. Pete Ricketts welcomed Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson to talk about efforts to stop human trafficking before issuing proclamations to increase awareness about the issue. The state legislature has considered several different bills on the matter in recent years, suggesting increased penalties, reporting requirements, and adjustments to the statute of limitations.

Watch Monday’s full news conference

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