Nebraska to expand COVID vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 & older Monday

(Undated) -- All Nebraskans 16 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine beginning next week.

On Wednesday, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the state would open up eligibility to all adult Nebraskans on Monday, April 5th. During his Wednesday coronavirus update, Ricketts said that Nebraska is ranked 12th in the nation by the CDC in vaccinations per 100,000 people, and 21st in the number of doses used. The governor said 80% of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination doses have been used.

Noting an increase in positive cases in the past three weeks, and an increase in hospitalizations since Monday, Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to not let their guard down in the fight against the coronavirus. “It’s a great time to be optimistic, but it’s also a great time to be cautious."

In urging Nebraskans to sign up on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination list, Ricketts said he received an email that he was eligible, as he is over age 50, and scheduled his vaccination for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at UNMC in Omaha.

Nebraska pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program opened up vaccinations to those ages 18 and older this past Monday and now the state will follow suit this upcoming Monday. The Pfizer vaccine is approved to those 16 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 and older.

Responding to questions noting that some health districts had already begun vaccinating those ages 18 and older, Ricketts said the state is already “dynamically monitoring” vaccine allocations to allow more doses in areas with higher demand. The federal program will be expanding from about 17,000 to 40,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, distributing 5.1 million doses of Johnson & Johnson — more than doubling the number of vaccinations — starting next week. The allocation is in addition to Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses also being distributed.

Ricketts said he expected Nebraska’s share of Johnson & Johnson doses would be more than double what it had been, but noted that the White House advised that J&J allocations could fluctuate in coming weeks.

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