Nebraska continues work on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts gave an update on the state's COVID-19  response on Friday, Jan. 8,...
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts gave an update on the state's COVID-19 response on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 9:52 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts urged patience Tuesday as the state continues work on the digital rollout of its general COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Noting the new push from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get the vaccine to anyone age 65 and older wasn’t a requirement, the governor urged people not to call public health departments ahead of the state’s website rollout.

Nebraska is still working through Phase 1A, he said, noting that some health departments have started working on the 75-and-older age group.

Ricketts said additional doses the state receives earmarked as second doses will not be distributed for use as initial doses.

More than 40% of Nebraska’s 90,000 healthcare workers have received the first of two doses of the coronavirus vaccine as the state is ramping up distribution. State health officials said 78,074 of the 144,363 doses Nebraska received so far have been administered, primarily to healthcare workers.

Residents and workers at long-term care facilities have also begun getting vaccines.

About 10,000 people in the state have received both doses of the vaccine.

The governor also said he isn’t a fan of mandatory testing or mandatory vaccines. Officials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said Monday that it will start the spring 2021 semester with a required saliva-based COVID-19 testing program.

Talking security ahead of calls for protests at state capitals around the country, Ricketts said he would not prohibit the carrying of weapons in the state Capitol because of the second amendment, despite FBI warnings about potential threats to all state captials.

The governor also extended, to April, the waiver on the public meeting law that allowed public officials to attend their meetings remotely.

Ricketts also signed a proclamation declaring Tuesday “Religious Freedom Day” and welcomed guest speakers to speak further on the topic.

Watch Tuesday’s full news conference

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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