CHI Health leaders lay out plan for Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccinations

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 5:32 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In just a few weeks, nearly a half-million Nebraskans will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As state leaders are still laying out a plan, healthcare leaders are ready to help get the community vaccinated.

The only thing holding them back: a lack of vaccine.

“We are ready to administer as much vaccine as we can possibly get. We have the leadership and the infrastructure to do it,” said Dr. Cary Ward, CHI Chief Medical Officer.

By the start of February, leaders with CHI Health expect to begin vaccinations for Phase 1B, which will include patients ages 65 and older as well as those with underlying conditions.

“Right now, we’ve been asked to support our own phase b patient population. But we are absolutely ready to collaborate with the many partners to ensure we are taking care of our patients and the community, as well,” said Julie Gertnetzke, CHI Health.

What will the next round of vaccinations look like for CHI Health? They plan to have four metro hospitals and one in lincoln serve as vaccination sites, but CHI Health leaders say they aren’t quite ready to announce those locations just yet.

Right now, the focus is on making sure the entire process is streamlined.

“We will want to have scheduled appointments. There is a reason for that. We don’t want patients waiting in line. We want to provide an efficient process so that when they go to their location to receive the vaccine it’s smooth,” said Gernetzke.

You can’t make an appointment for the vaccine just yet, but officials said to keep checking their patient portals and the CHI website for updates on that.

“We will continue to update that timely because it can change by the hour as cross-collaboration is occurring across the state,” Gernetzke said.

For now, CHI Health leaders say be patient. As soon as they have vaccines, it will be “go” time.

“We want to give it right away. Every dose that we get, every week we want it to be in somebody’s arm by the end of that week so that’s our goal and it’s just dependent on how many we can get,” Dr. Ward said.

The state is expected to get around 23,000 doses per week once portions of Nebraska move into the next phase. CHI Health officials said they aren’t exactly sure how much of that total number they will get each week.

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