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Nebraska health departments prepare for COVID vaccine arrival

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KTIV) -- Nebraska is making preparations for the vaccine as local health departments get ready for a potential game-changer in the pandemic.

Melanie Thompson, the Emergency Response Coordinator at the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department, says that the first to get the vaccine would be health care workers.

"And the very first push will be to those front line health care workers, front line ones working with the COVID patients, whether they are in the nursing home or the hospital. And then the next push is to the actual residents of nursing homes, you know, the first responders, that kind of thing," said Thompson.

The vaccine from Pfizer has to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, while the Moderna vaccine does not. Thompson says the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department has dealt with frozen and refrigerated vaccines but not ultra-cold.

"The Moderna vaccine still has to be frozen but it doesn't have to be ultra cold, so there are less storage issues with that particular vaccine. And then the more traditional vaccines, those are still needing to be refrigerated, but they don't have to be frozen," said Thompson..

Thompson adds that since Pfizer and Moderna have already applied for emergency use authorization, it seems that those vaccines may be the ones to come first.

After the first push of vaccines, Thompson says the next focus would be the vulnerable population, those more susceptible to the virus, followed by the general population.

To learn more about how Iowa health officials are preparing for vaccines, click here. For more on vaccine prep in South Dakota, click here.

Brett Mayerson

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