OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Douglas County did not order more COVID-19 vaccines this week and it's unsure whether more will be requested next week.
The county currently has about 20,000 doses refrigerated and ready to use and wants to be responsible with the vaccine.
"It was just a matter of not wanting a lot of vaccines sitting on the shelf having added the space to store it. We wanted to use what we have. It wasn’t a responsible move at this point to have more come in and just have it sit in the refrigerator somewhere," said Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department.
Rooney believes the county can get through the stockpile within the next few days, but vaccination rates have slowed in the past few weeks.
Rooney said he believes one reason vaccine demand is down is that those who were eager to get vaccinated, already received their doses. The slowed rates do worry doctors.
"The pace of vaccination has clearly slowed down here in the last two to three weeks. Part of this is expected but also it is quite unfortunate because there are still plenty of people who need to be vaccinated that have not been able to be vaccinated for one reason or another. The ramifications are profound if we don’t get a substantial portion of the population vaccinated. We are going to see continued transmission of COVID 19 in the community and with every person who gets infected it’s just one more roll of the roulette wheel," said Dr. Mark Rupp, Professor and Chief of Infectious Disease at Nebraska Medical Center. "We’re allowing this virus to develop mutations that allow it to escape from vaccine immunity or for it to be more transmissible."
Doctors say we have to make the vaccine more accessible and convenient.
"We need to now start working on getting it to places where people can easily get the vaccine instead of having to make an appointment and getting taken to a vaccine center. I’d like to see the vaccine come to them. How can we get the vaccine into clinics and schools and churches and malls and all kinds of places where people are able to go?" Dr. Rupp said.
While they are concerned, doctors are hopeful Nebraska will get to herd immunity. The health department is working to put together micro clinics in neighborhood venues such as churches and food pantries.