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Nebraska consolidating COVID-19 vaccine registration data, install online scheduling feature

Officials also unveiled a Spanish-language version of the COVID-19 vaccination registration website
Ricketts doesn't support Election Day holiday
Ricketts doesn't support Election Day holiday
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 9:53 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is transitioning its COVID-19 vaccination registration website to allow for vaccine appointment scheduling.

During Wednesday morning’s update on the Nebraska COVID-19 response, Lori Snyder, chief information officer for the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services said the state is transitioning its COVID-19 vaccination registration website to allow for vaccine appointment scheduling.

Health districts have been sharing all previously entered registration information with the state, and vice versa, so that no registration is unaccounted for. She said that those who have registered may receive email notifications about this process to let them know that data has been transferred into a different system.

Pharmacy systems will also be rolled into the state’s system so that discrepancies don’t occur, Gov. Pete Ricketts said.

Officials said Wednesday that just over 250,000 have registered with the state for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Health districts will be moving into Phase 2A in the coming weeks, he said, so Nebraskans are encouraged to sign up for their vaccination on the state’s website or by calling in to the hotline for assistance. Ages 50-64 will be next up, so the governor encouraged Nebraskans in that age group to get signed up to be notified about when they can schedule their vaccinations.

NEBRASKA VACCINE HOTLINE: Gov. Pete Ricketts has asked Nebraskans needing vaccine help by phone to call 402-552-6645 or toll-free at 833-998-2275 for more information on the Nebraska COVID-19 vaccination process. DO NOT call your local health department.

Nebraska has also launched a Spanish version of the state’s vaccination website; those requiring additional language assistance are advised to use the call center, Snyder said.

Four health districts — more in the coming weeks — will be working to implement the state’s vaccine scheduling system into their websites.

“We don’t want Nebraska to be a lottery system,” Snyder said. “We are all about being fair and equitable, so we don’t want folks having to go from one website to another to another to try to get registered. We also don’t want the experience of you having to drive around and stand in line.”

Nebraskans will be selected for vaccination by age or by groups selected by local health departments according to whatever phase they are in, she said. COVID-19 vaccination invitations will be sent out for roughly the number of vaccinations that are currently available, she said. So appointments will not be made far into the future, and those receiving an email invitation will know that there is a vaccine dose available for them when they receive the email.

Snyder said the email will contain an encrypted invitation and QR code that is unique to you, so it cannot be shared.

“The good news is, you will know that you’ve got a vaccine dose waiting for you when you get to that registration site,” she said.

The governors said he’s expecting Nebraska will receive a share of 400,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for the state’s tribes and territories. He said the state may see a “relatively small amount” of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, but that Nebraska wasn’t expecting to see significant amounts of that vaccine until the end of the month.

The federal pharmacy program is providing vaccinations across Nebraska. Information about those vaccinations can be found on the CDC VSAFE website for now while the state works to integrate them into its vaccination database program, which Snyder said should be done by the end of March.

Nebraska COVID-19 update

Ricketts said that COVID-19 hospitalizations for Nebraska are at 131, about the same as they were at the end of July and the beginning of August. He said 35% of the state’s hospital beds are available, 41% of ICU beds are available, and 77% of ventilators are available.

Ricketts said more than 552,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered in Nebraska, ranking the state 18th by population in the New York Times tracker, with 20% percent of the population having received one dose; 13th in the nation with 11% of the population vaccinated with two doses; and 25th for overall percent of vaccination doses used.

The governor also called attention to a new vaccine study, called American Commitment, which tracks the percentage of the population over age 65 that have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The study has ranked Nebraska No. 1 for the percentage of the population in that age group who have been vaccinated here.

Other topics

On take-out alcohol: The governor said he supports continuing to allow take-out alcohol to promote safety and help out local bars and restaurants as they continue to navigate

On excise taxes: He said also would like to see the excise tax lowered.

On the Biden administration’s 30x30 plan: Ricketts said he thinks the Biden administration’s 30x30 conservation plan is a terrible idea. “Proposing to set aside 30% of our land and waters here in the United States with no scientific reasoning for why you picked 30% just really doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

The plan hurts farmers and ranchers, he said.

“Farmers and ranchers were the original conservationists because they wanted to pass along that family farm or ranch to the next generation,” he said. “They know that it’s important to take care of the land.”

He said it also takes away property taxes from rural communities that rely on those funds.

Watch Wednesday’s news conference

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