COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s
Healthcare workers are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, a vaccine, and it can't come soon enough.
Last Updated 2/10/21
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Many of us have questions about the COVID vaccine and how it will work, who will get it, the timeline, and the questions keep mounting. We want to answer all the questions we can.
Nebraskans can now register to be vaccinated with the State or their local health department.
Here is the STATE’S VACCINE PLAN you can read in its entirety. You can also call the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) directly at its COVID information hotline. Call 402-552-6645, or call toll free at 833-998-2275.
Nebraska is distributing its allocation of vaccines in various phases, as announced by DHHS’ Angie Lee in a December 2 news conference.
“Due to the limited COVID vaccine, immunizations programs have been encouraged to utilize a phase approach to the vaccine allocation,” Lee says. “It’s vitally important that those on the front lines of the pandemic stay as healthy as possible and that we reduce their chances of spreading the virus. This is why the first allocations will focus on health care personnel.”
Phase 1 A of the vaccination distribution plan began mid-December, around the 15th. During a Feb. 9 coronavirus press conference, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez says they are almost done with Phase 1A.
Phase 1B began on Friday, Feb. 5. Since those 80 years or older have been prioritized. A mass vaccination clinic was held at Pinnacle Bank Arena (PBA) that weekend to vaccinate registered residence in this age group. About 4,000 vaccines were administered at the clinic.
Lancaster County is expected to receive a 25% increase in its vaccine allotments the week of Feb. 19. Because of this, two more mass vaccination clinics will be held at PBA Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 12 for registered residents 75 years or older. Spouses of eligible residents are ALSO ELIGIBLE to be vaccinated at these clinics.
A total of 4,800 vaccines are expected to be administered over these two days.
As of Feb. 10, more than 262,750 vaccines have been distributed across Nebraska. More than 85% of first doses have been administered and nearly 56% of the second doses. This does not include the 87,750 allocated for the Federal Pharmacy Program.
- Health care providers
- Ancillary staff in direct contact with the virus
- Home health care workers
- Emergency Medical Services workers
- Other health care staff
Gov. Ricketts says they are working towards distributing the vaccine statewide come springtime. The earliest Nebraskans could see Phase 1B is mid-February.
Populations included in Phase 1B will be:
- Seniors, ages 65 and older
- Anyone with high-risk medical conditions
- First Responders
- Utility workers (power, water, gas sanitation)
- Staff at Homeless Shelters
- Correctional staff
- Funeral Home staff
- Grocery store workers
- Food Processing workers
- Transportation services (trucking, railroad, gas stations)
- U.S. Postal Service
- Public Transit staff (bus, air)
Additional phases are set to come as more doses of the vaccine arrive. The general population can begin registering for the vaccine now. You will be notified once you are eligible to receive the vaccine. Click here to register or call 402-441-8006.
If you have already been diagnosed with coronavirus, Ricketts says to “be on the safe side” and still get a vaccine when the time comes.
Channel 8 News talked with Dr. Michael Tiesi, the Vice President of Pharmacy Services at CHI Health. Here is additional information we know about the COVID vaccine:
Will there be an age limit for the vaccine?
Anyone 16 or older is eligible for the vaccine.
Will insurance companies take care of the vaccine?
“It’s going to be free, no cost involved in the vaccine.”
Will the vaccine react with other medications?
It shouldn’t. “You know what is unique about this vaccine, it’s not a medicine, it’s unlike your typical flu vaccine where it’s a weakened or killed virus.”
See also: DHHS FAQs
Is the COVID vaccine going to be something we get every year, or a one and done situation?
Health Officials say there is no answer on that just yet. But we do know the vaccine will come in two doses, the second dose is supposed to be taken within three weeks of the first dose and doctors are emphasizing the importance of doing it on time.
Will the vaccine procedure look similar to a flu shot?
Yes and no. “Once we get it out, mix it up, and get it ready for administration, it’s good for six hours so we really need to prep and make sure we have staff lined up so we can receive it and we do it within that time frame.”
See also: DHHS COVID-19 Caregiver Fact Sheet
Will pregnant women or women that are breastfeeding be able to get the vaccine?
Officials say pregnant women are eligible for the vaccine, but the decision is ultimately up to them and their healthcare providers.
Will there be any side effects? Who will get the vaccine first?
Front line health care workers will get the vaccine first. “I know we have to stagger that because some folks may feel under the weather at that dose so we got to make sure we don’t vaccinate all of our critical care nurses at one time.”