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'The vaccine is still working': Boosted people 46 times less likely to be hospitalized in Nebraska

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 23:09:04-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Vaccines remain an important key to keeping the surge from overwhelming Nebraska hospitals as omicron cases surge.

Right now, omicron shows up in 73% of the sequenced tests in Nebraska according to Dr. Matthew Donahue the acting state epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Nebraska now has set a new record for COVID-19 cases in one day," Donahue said. "More than we’ve ever had in the past.”

Donahue says, based on trends from around the world, this surge could drop off in four to five weeks, but they warn Nebraska did not follow the trends during the delta surge.

In the meantime, Nebraska hospitals are struggling. On a rolling 7-day average, 13.6% of hospital beds are taken up by COVID patients. If it reaches 15%, the state will issue a new directed health measure to postpone elective surgeries again.

Dr. Angela Hewlett, Infectious Diseases Specialist with Nebraska Medicine, says many health workers are getting sick and are unable to work. Those that aren’t ill are burnt out.

"In the hospital, we’re tired," Hewlett said. "We’re tired. We’re overwhelmed. This is really leading to a situation where we’re unable to provide the care that we want to.”

She encourages people to get vaccinated to lower their chance of being hospitalized.

"The unvaccinated: those are the people we’re seeing in our ICUs," Hewlett said. "And those individuals still, even with omicron, are coming in still critically ill, some requiring intensive care.”

Donahue says vaccinated people are 11 times less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated people, if boosted that jumps to 46 times less likely.

DHHS estimate 3,200 people have stayed out of the hospital because of the vaccine, and that it has prevented 700 deaths. -

DHHS also has data showing the vaccines are safe. Vaccinated people in Nebraska are dying at smaller rates for all causes of death.

"The vaccine is still working," Donahue said. "It is keeping people out of the hospital and keeping people from dying in real-time in Nebraska and it’s safe.”

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