Vaccine pace slows in some areas of Nebraska

Posted at 10:15 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 11:15:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Some doctors said we may be reaching a critical crossroads in the pandemic.

The White House says roughly 200 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the rate of vaccination is slowing down, and that's happening in some parts of our area.

Ten of the 23 health districts in the state of Nebraska have declined new vaccine allotments this week as fewer people are jumping in line to get vaccinated.

Julie Rother, Health Director of Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, said she has seen a major change in their efforts.

“With each group in the priority phases that DHHS has put out there for us to focus on has kind of worked that same way. Like at the beginning we are just inundated and all a sudden that one is done and you really aren't ready for it. You think it will go on forever. With each phase that we've changed to that initial number of interest has been smaller until now and now it's kind of a steady drip of people that are interested,” said Rother.

Rother said right now roughly 35% of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated, far from what's needed for herd immunity.

Rother added she would like to see 70% of their residents vaccinated but understands that might be unrealistic.

She believes public messaging and the spread of misinformation and myths have caused many to not want to get vaccinated but also adds it is normal for some to wait longer than others.

“This is kind of following the science and I think we just need to be patient and understanding and continue to give the right information and put it out there for people to have easy access to," said Rother.

According to Rother, some are wanting to wait for more data before they get vaccinated while other people don't feel like they are at high risk for severe COVID-19 and would rather take their chances.

She said the pandemic has highlighted the best in science as well as created mistrust in public health with some people.

The health districts that have temporarily paused their allotments of new doses are Central, Dakota, Lincoln-Lancaster, Loup Basin, North Central, Northeast, Public Health Solutions, Sarpy-Cass, South Heartland and Two Rivers.

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