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'Very effective, very safe': New COVID-19 vaccines rollout in Omaha

Posted at 7:26 PM, Sep 26, 2023

MILLARD, Neb. (KMTV) — Felicity Bronzan lives in the Omaha area and got her fourth COVID-19 vaccine at Kohll's Pharmacy in Millard.

"You know what, I've seen friends of mine get seriously sick who have not had the shots and stuff so…" she said.

Her reason for getting the shot, to protect herself and her community. That's something that Dr. Mark Rupp, the chief of infectious diseases with Nebraska Medicine also recommends.

"If we all pitch in together we can do an awful lot to blunt the impact of these respiratory viruses," he said.

Some pharmacies, like Kohll's, already have the updated vaccines. Dr. David Kohll, the owner, has been busy administering the shot, along with other seasonal shots.

"A COVID vaccine, they'll get a flu shot, they'll get the new RSV vaccine if they're 60 or older and then they might get the new pneumonia shot," said Dr. Kohll.

They've had the updated COVID-19 vaccine for around a week, once it was approved by the CDC and FDA. Others who have it right now include CVS, Walgreens, and some grocery stores.

Dr. Rupp said the vaccine is "very effective, very safe, will offer good protection against more severe illness and for some short time will prevent illness in general."

He said the new vaccine is more closely aligned with omicron cases we're seeing in the community. Within the last month, there's been an uptick in hospitalization.

"It may be headed down just a little bit but still a lot of circulating COVID, so now is the right time to get your COVID vaccine," said Dr. Rupp.

Without many people getting tested or doing at-home tests, there isn't a reliable way to monitor it. And just like many people get their flu shot every year, health leaders are saying to do the same for COVID-19.

"No one likes to be sick, you know, and it's such an easy thing to do," said Dr. Kohll about getting the vaccine.

Nebraska Medicine expects to have the new vaccine by the end of the week. CHI Health tells 3 News Now, that they will have it within the coming weeks. And Children's Hospital and Medical Center said they will have the Moderna vaccine in a couple of weeks.

They said the vaccine is being distributed to state and county offices first and then will go to other health organizations.

Anyone six months or older can get the updated COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. As a reminder, each household can get four free at-home COVID-19 test kits at https://www.covid.gov/tests.

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