Douglas County pushes for higher turnout at South Omaha vaccine clinic

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 4:10 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An increase in the state’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccines as early as next week will mean extra shots for Douglas County.

While county officials wait on those additional doses, they’re trying to figure how to get more people at one south Omaha clinic to get vaccinated.

There is concern over how low turnout the turnout has been at the Kroc Center for senior citizens to get their COVID shots.

Officials say so far only about half of the five hundred appointments for seniors 70 and older have been filled.

“Well, we’re certainly asking a lot of questions about that. I think one of the reasons maybe if you don’t live in the neighborhood it may not be viewed as terribly convenient for you to make the trip there,” said Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department. “And there may not be a lot of the 70 plus population, that’s who that clinic is for, in that neighborhood.”

Douglas County Health Department officials say they are making a major effort to bring the vaccine to Omaha’s Latino community, a group that has been hard hit by the virus.

“We’re going to do some outreach trying to reach the meatpacking plants, working with Spanish language radio stations, they’re working with the Latino Center of the Heartland, some other community contacts to try to get the word out to as many people as possible,” said Rooney.

Officials are hoping more seniors get their shots tomorrow at the Kroc Center, with additional vaccines on the way, there could be even more vaccines available if Johnson and Johnson join the fight against COVID.

“A week from today is a big day the Johnson and Johnson vaccine goes before the FDA for its emergency use authorization so if that gets OK’d that will be another large amount of vaccine flowing and they will gear up their production once it’s OK’d,” said Rooney.

State officials believe with stepped-up vaccine production and the possible addition of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, everyone in Nebraska could be eligible for a shot sometime around April, but like anything connected to the virus, that could change.

To make a vaccine appointment, head to the Douglas County Health Department website.

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