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Nebraska moving to next vaccine phase on Monday; vaccinations opening up to people with underlying conditions

Governor criticizes Douglas County
Pete Ricketts
Posted at 10:06 AM, Mar 19, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — On Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts provided an update on the fight against COVID-19 in the state. Beginning on Monday, March 22, Ricketts said Nebraska will move to the next phase of its vaccination plan.

In Phase 2, people ages 50-64 will be eligible for vaccinations as well as people with underlying conditions, said the governor. State guidelines will ask that 90% of vaccines go to people ages 50-64 and the other 10% will be for people with underlying conditions.

In a news release on Friday afternoon, the Douglas County Health Department said it would begin vaccinating residents who are in the 60-64 age group. The county will also begin to contact patients who have underlying health conditions to schedule vaccination appointments.

In regards to people with underlying conditions who will be eligible, the governor said the state is leaving that up to local health departments who will likely work with healthcare providers in the community to determine who can get a shot.

About 350,000 people make up the 50-64 age group. No estimate was provided for when the next phase change may occur, but Ricketts said everyone who wants to get vaccinated should be able to do so this spring.

The decision to make people ages 50-64 eligible for vaccinations is being based on mortality rates, said the governor.

The state is continuing to see steady vaccine supply allocations from Pfizer and Moderna and will likely see a jump in Johnson & Johnson vaccine allocations. That could happen as early as March 29.

The governor also briefly talked about employees of telecommunications companies in Douglas County wrongly being vaccinated. He said telecommunications companies are not considered utility companies are therefore are not eligible under state guidelines.

He believes it may simply be a misunderstanding on the part of the Douglas County Health Department. The state will continue to follow up with the Douglas County Health Department to make sure it’s honoring state guidelines.

Due to the pandemic, federal tax filing dates have been pushed back from April 15 to May 17. Nebraska will be following that model, Ricketts said. Residents will have until May 17 to file their state taxes.

The governor also took time to remind people that Saturday, March 20 is Meat on the Menu Day in Nebraska and encouraged people to make meat a healthy part of their diet in support of Nebraska farmers and ranchers.

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