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Thousands make COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Douglas County

Around 5,000 appointments were made on first day
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 19:22:42-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The state COVID-19 vaccine registration website and call center is live and the Douglas County Health Department is already taking appointments for residents over the age of 80. The state website currently serves as more of a notification center while the Douglas County registration website has already made around 5,000 appointments after launching Friday morning, but not without some hiccups.

"We kind of overburdened the system to begin with for about 20 minutes. But it seems to be working out now," Douglas County Health Department spokesperson, Phil Rooney said.

As of Friday, about half of the 80 and older population that doesn't live in nursing homes in Douglas County signed up for an appointment.

“I think that’s a real good number cause the estimated population of those individuals 80 plus in Douglas County is around 12,000," Rooney said.

The health department is trying to add more locations to their already four vaccination clinics in the metro and are also trying to solve the problem of transportation.

"People who have a need for special accommodations are making that known when they make their appointment. So we're looking into some of the possibilities of maybe arranging for Uber service for them or something like that," Rooney said.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also had a busy Friday, sorting out their vaccine registration website. As of Friday morning, 54,000 Nebraskans signed up to be notified when they're eligible for a vaccine. State officials emphasize that the public does not have to sign up on every single vaccination website and that data between state and local health departments is shared. Signing up through your local health department is preferred. Although DHHS Chief Information Officer Lori Snyder says there is one exception.

"There's one example of where you do need to re-register if you've already registered. Just this one...if you're between the ages of 18 and 65 and you have a serious health condition," Snyder said.

Some of the serious health conditions that the state recognizes includes cancer, chronic liver and kidney disease and diabetes types one and two.

Registrations and appointments will continue coming in as phase 1b of vaccinations for the entire state begins next week.