(Douglas County, NE) -- The Douglas County Health Department, in line with the state of Nebraska, has opened up COVID vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older as of Monday.
Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department tells WOWT 6 News that, “We are in a race to get people vaccinated because you know nationally and even statewide we’ve plateaued and started to see an increase in cases."
Last week, there was a 64% increase in COVID cases compared to the previous week among people between the ages of 40 and 59. That same week, there was a 58% jump among people between the ages of 20 and 39. “Well, I think that got everyone’s attention,” Rooney said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
The county wants to be ready for what could be an onslaught as hundreds of thousands more people become eligible for the shot. “We have a lot of people staffing the phone lines tomorrow because we know there could be a backup,” said Rooney. The health department is asking people to book appointments on their website.
“We know that there are more appointments that have been loaded into the system in there, so people will be able to book that and we have other clinics opening up around the community so we think we’ll be able to hand it,” said Rooney.
Health leaders say they are confident they can start vaccinating those younger, without leaving behind those older and more vulnerable. “We do have our data that shows that a very good percentage of those individuals have been vaccinated at this point,” said Rooney. “So there will be some more targeted efforts for those and they do remain eligible so we will get them in.”