HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported the department and vaccination partners had administered more than 8,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December 15, when the first doses arrived in the health district.
“This includes 5,871 primary doses and 2,552 booster doses,” Bever said. “This does not include the doses provided to long term care facilities through the federal pharmacy program or, more recently, the doses administered by retail pharmacies through their federal pharmacy program. Each week, when we learn how many doses we will receive the following week, we make plans for how to get the vaccine into arms within seven days of receiving it.”
Bever said the department is continuing to focus vaccine efforts on individuals age 65+. “This age group is at higher risk of complications and death from COVID-19, so we are urging this group to get vaccinated.”
Residents can register to get the vaccine on the SHDHD website (www.southheartlandhealth.org) where there is a link to Nebraska’s vaccine registration system. The health department, along with their partner vaccine providers, are using the registration lists to schedule appointments.
“We are calling people on the lists to get them scheduled for their COVID-19 shot. If you are 65+ and you live in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls or Webster county, you registered for the vaccine, and you have not yet received a call to schedule your shot, please contact the health department at 402-462-6211. We will help get you scheduled with one of the approved vaccine provider partners in our district,” Bever said.
Bever said a small portion of the vaccine allotment is for prioritized essential workers, according to Nebraska’s Phase 1B priority plan. “We received more vaccine this week due to the additional influx of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. We are taking advantage of the additional doses to vaccinate more staff from the K-12 schools in the four counties,” she said.
Bever also reported the COVID-19 risk dial score dropped to 1.7 in moderate risk, from 1.9 the previous week.
“The average number of positive tests reported each day increased slightly to 5.4 per day, up from 4.4 per day the previous week,” Bever said. “However, the 14-day average of new daily cases decreased to 11 per 100,000 for the week ending February 27,” she said.
“We need to continue doing what’s working,” Bever said. “What’s working is avoiding the three Cs: avoid crowded places, avoid close contact, avoid confined spaces. We need to continue to wear masks that cover our noses and mouths, we need to stay home when we are sick, we need to disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects, we need to wash our hands, and we need to get the COVID vaccine when it is our turn,” she said.