Local experts give answers on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 23:11:03-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Just over 7% of Douglas County’s population has completed the COVID-19 vaccination process, but there are still many who have a lot of questions about the vaccine and how effectively it's reaching the public.

Several local experts took part in a virtual town hall hosted by the Charles Drew Health Center and4Urban.Org to answer the community's questions.

How was the COVID-19 vaccine ready so quickly?

The experts say, keep in mind that the technology has been around for 20 years.

"When COVID-19 infections started, they were able to take this technology that was already present and with lots of funding and resources, we got billions of dollars and resources to do this study fast," said Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, who specializes in infectious Disease at CHI Health.

Why are our loved ones with preexisting conditions no longer eligible for the vaccine?

"We’re going to be doing it in the age category," said Dannette Smith, CEO of the Nebraska DHHS. "It is simpler for us to be able to manage the process and to get everybody as much as possible vaccinated.”

When will vaccines be available for educators?

Dr. Adi Pour, the Douglas County Health Director, says appointments will be available Wednesday and Thursday at a site in Millard and on Saturday at Creighton University.

"The prioritization is being set by the school districts who are setting the priority in regards to who is the oldest and who has most of the contact with students,” Pour said.

How easy has it been for those people with disabilities, language barriers and or maybe just computer illiteracy to sign up for the vaccine?

“I know that when we went into our software, we would have persons that would have difficulties," said Smith. "That’s why we added the language line and we also added people who could answer the questions.”

NE State Vaccine Hotline: 833-998-2275
Local Hotline Number: 531-249-1873
Charles Drew Health Center: 402-451-3553

The DHHS says they will be adding a Spanish website to make signing up more accessible.

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