LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Nebraska health officials said that the general population may start receiving a COVID-19 vaccine possibly as early as April.
At a Thursday press conference, Felicia Quintana-Zinn, the deputy director of the Health Data and Informatics Section of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), said that Nebraska is finalizing plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to the general public.
“With the increasing amount of vaccine supply, Nebraska is expecting to move to the general population in April or May,” she said.
Quintana-Zinn added that age caused or was the main contributing factor to the 1,801 deaths, with 97% from those 50 years old or older.
“To continue to ensure that our population is protected, when Nebraska begins vaccinating the general population, those 50-64 years old will be prioritized following by the remainder of the population, those 16-49 years old.”
Angie Ling with Incident Command of DHHS explained the reason the state believes the general population will be getting the vaccines in April or May due to increased vaccine production.
“From what we’re hearing from our federal partners, is that we’re expecting an increase in Pfizer and Moderna production and we’re also anticipating Johnson and Johnson to come out with an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). And if all those things happen as planned, then the April timeframe will really be a big increase of our vaccines,” Ling said.
Also at the press conference, Ling said that the weather caused a mojority of vaccines to arrive to the state. She said when the doses do arrive, every effort will be made to catch up. She added that it isn’t limited to just Nebraska, but that it is a nationwide problem.
Allocations of the primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccines will be increasing next week as well, with more than 18,000 primary doses each of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines expected. In addition, secondary doses will be delivered closer to the window of usage.
Quintana-Zinn also announced the launch of the state’s official COIVD-19 vaccination campaign, Finish Strong Nebraska.
Asked about Nebraska being 45 in vaccine distributed, Gov. Ricketts said they are focused on getting second doses administered and being fully immuninized, with the state being 20th. He said that sitting at 20th is still not acceptable and that they are working to properly administer the vaccine throughout the state
Watch a replay of the press conference below.