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State vaccine prioritization readjusted once again; high risk individuals not prioritized in 1B

Nebraska to focus on older adults
Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 19:12:51-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska is in phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations. The two groups that were being prioritized in 1B were those 65 and older and those over 18 with serious medical conditions like cancer or asthma. Now, the state has once again changed prioritization, dropping those with serious medical conditions from group 1B completely to focus on vaccinating the older population.

"The older you are, the more likely you are to have that severe result that ends up in death," Governor Ricketts said.

State data shows that 82 percent of Coronavirus related deaths are those 65 and older. The group that got bumped out of prioritization are those 18 and older with serious medical conditions like asthma, cancer, both types of diabetes and conditions like heart failure.

26-year-old Bryan Walker has had asthma for most of his life. He would've been prioritized in this group.

"Having asthma could obviously have more serious effects on how the virus could affect me in terms of symptoms and severity," Walker said. "When is it going to be a bit more finalized?"

The high risk group does not have new vaccine prioritization at this time.

"We do not have a place for them right now, we're focusing on folks who are 65 and older," Gov. Ricketts added.

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended vaccinations for the vulnerable, including those with serious health conditions saying,"Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19."

However, Ricketts said he is relying on Nebraska data to make decisions for Nebraskans and believes this is the most efficient plan to get vaccines out as quick as possible to other groups in 1B like teachers and corrections staff.

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