Vaccine rollout begins in Omaha
April 2, 2021
COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Nebraska has begun. After a bumpy first couple of weeks of being in the bottom 20%, Nebraska is now in the top 25 states with the highest percentage of people vaccinated, according to the New York Times. In a press release today, the Center for Disease Control said that fully vaccinated people may “Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart,” and “Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.” This is a huge step forward in the campaign to return to normalcy.
Although the new guidelines from the CDC are very promising, getting a shot in Nebraska still can be a very tricky experience if one does not have the correct connections. Registration online and over the phone can often be tough for elderly people, who may not be able to operate computers or cell phones very well. These same people are often the ones in need most of the vaccine. Another emerging problem concerning vaccine distribution is the large portion of the population who would not be willing to take it. In a survey of 30 people, six replied “Maybe” or “No” when asked if they will take the vaccine once it becomes available to their age group, citing the safety of the vaccine. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public are safe, efficacious and that they met the FDA’s strict testing criteria. The CDC also states that over 92 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed so far, and that there are no serious side effects for people who are not allergic to the vaccine. For those who may be allergic to the vaccine, there is a chance that they may go into anaphylaxis, but that is only a very small percentage of the population.
Once one is able to book an appointment to get their first shot, on the date of their shot they will get to go to a mass vaccination location to get the vaccine. I was lucky enough to be able to visit one of these vaccination centers. Held at the Rassmussen Fitness and Sports Center at Creighton University, the vaccine clinic, which is open exclusively on Saturdays, vaccinates about 3800 people every day it is open. On the day that I was at the center, February 27, they vaccinated around 3700 people, most of them being elderly people who are known to be more susceptible to COVID-19. The clinic first opened on February 6 and has been vaccinating thousands of people every Saturday since then. The clinic gives out exclusively Pfizer doses, to make sure there are no mix-ups.
There is a very well planned out process that one must go through once they enter the building. There are two entrances to the building that people take to get in, and one exit. One of the entrances is for people who may need more assistance, like people in wheelchairs. The first stop that people make after entering the building is a table where they sign a form of consent to take the vaccine. Once the form is signed, they enter a line that takes them to a registration station. At one of the twelve registration stations, a worker will take the signed consent form and give out a vaccine card if the person does not already have one. They will also collect a short medical history of the person to make sure they may not be allergic to any of the ingredients of the vaccine and so they know how to treat the person if they have any bad reaction to the shot.
There is a lot of prep that has to be done to a dose of COVID-19 vaccine before it can be administered into a person’s arm. The vaccines must be shipped at ultra-cool temperatures, because the actual mRNA virus will die if kept at room temperature for too long. Once the vaccine shows up, it must be defrosted on-sight. Once the vaccine is thawed, it is rotated ten times to mix up the solution. The vaccine looks like a foggy off-white solution. The vaccine is then diluted with 1.8 mL of 0.9% sodium chloride. The vial is then rotated ten times once more. After that, the vaccine can finally be injected into a recipient’s arm. Only about 3/10 of a mL of the actual vaccine goes into each shot of the vaccine. After receiving the shot, people are told to sit in a waiting area for either 15 or 30 minutes, depending on if the person has any conditions that may warrant extra caution.
The CDC recommends that people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Getting a vaccine is not only important to protect oneself, but everyone around a certain person as well. They are a great tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19, and eventually bring the world back to normalcy. The COVID-19 vaccine is a bright light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel for everyone effected by this pandemic.