Nebraska to begin prioritizing COVID vaccinations for ages 50+ next week

(Lincoln, NE) -- Next week brings another age group of Nebraskans that will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

During his coronavirus update on Friday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said that that state will move into Phase 2 of vaccinations on Monday. That opens up vaccine availability to Nebraskans ages 50-64 and anyone with underlying conditions, if health districts so choose.

Angie Ling, incident commander with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, said some local health districts are running behind and will still be working through Phase 1B next week and then Phase 1C starting Monday, March 29th.

Health districts that aren't behind in vaccinations will shift their focus to younger populations, with some health departments having the option of designating 10% of their dose allotments to also vaccinate those under the age of 50 with pre-existing conditions. State leaders again encouraged Nebraskan of any age to submit their information via the state’s online registration portal — regardless of whether they currently qualify for a COVID-19 vaccination — so that they’re already in the system when it is their turn.

During his coronavirus briefing, the governor also addressed reports that the Douglas County Health Department is vaccinating telecom companies, calling it “a huge mistake.”

“That is outside the guidelines. They’re not supposed to be doing that. They made a mistake,” Ricketts said. “We told them weeks ago that telecoms are not part of utilities, and for whatever reason, they decided to go forward with telecom companies... and that’s actually taking away vaccines from those vulnerable people we’re trying to focus on.”

Ricketts said the state will be following up with Douglas County health leaders to, “get them to correct that, because they really need to be focusing those vaccines on people who are going to be vulnerable.”

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