Nebraska’s first drive-through vaccine clinic opens in north Omaha

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The State of Nebraska opened a drive-through clinic in north Omaha on Thursday they hope will make it easier for minorities to get vaccinated.

“We know that minorities have been disproportionately affected, and we want to make sure that there’s enough access points so everyone can get vaccinated,” said Angela Ling, incident commander for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

State officials say it is important to put this vaccination site in the Black community. Minorities in Nebraska and across the country are lagging behind when it comes to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ericka Butler was one of many people in a long line at the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus on Thursday. She said she believes more Black people should get in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We definitely need to get the COVID shot because we’re high-risk,” she said. “Many of us have high blood-pressure, diabetes, and all that... So, I think it’s definitely an awesome thing to have this type of function going on in our community.”

State officials planned to vaccinate 400 people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Thursday. Recent reports about a mix-up in the production of the J&J vaccine, affecting millions of doses that cannot be used, did make Butler think twice.

“I called the nurse back ’cause someone had called me and said, ‘You know there’s a recall on Johnson & Johnson. You shouldn’t take that,’ ” she said. “I’m faith-based, so I figured it’s a good thing to keep me and my family protected and also my faith — and you have to use some common sense as well.”

Butler went on to take her shot. Others in line were waiting for the J&J shot and glad this clinic was just a short drive away.

“I’m glad to see one in our neighborhood because I haven’t heard of very many of them that have been here so far, and I’ve been waiting for particularly the Johnson & Johnson one,” said Betty Scott-Ruffin in Omaha.

Butler said everything went better than she imagined.

“I’m afraid of needles, so I had to get over the needle part, so I had my friend on the phone talking to me, so it could distract me,” she said.

She said she hopes that more people in her community decide to line up and get vaccinated.

State officials said the drive-through clinics at MCC Fort Omaha will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Appointments are required, and can be made on the Douglas County Health Department website if you’re a resident born in or before 1976.

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