Infectious Disease Expert Says Nebraska's Vaccine Stategy Has Worked, Is Evolving

March 29, 2021, 3:23 p.m. ·

Dr. Mark Rupp with UNMC. (Photo courtesy of UNMC)

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An infectious disease expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha thinks the state’s vaccine strategy has worked well so far but understands if some health districts want to speed things up.

From the start, Nebraska’s strategy has been to vaccinate older, more vulnerable people first and work down to the younger, less susceptible population. More than three months into the vaccination process, about 21-percent of the state’s eligible population has been vaccinated. Some states have opened vaccinations to everyone, but that hasn’t happened here yet, although some health districts have moved to allow anyone to get the shots. Some states have had an issue with people being willing to be vaccinated.

“In places where you’re seeing rapid progression to anybody being eligible to get the vaccine may also reflect certain portions of the population having vaccine hesitancy and therefore what would be the real tragedy would be having available doses that were simply just staying in the warehouse,” UNMC infectious disease expert Dr. Mark Rupp said.

He’s concerned that because many people think the pandemic is winding down, we’re going to see yet another spike in new cases.

“We’re not asking for a lot at this point,” Rupp said. “I think that if we were able to really pull together for another month or two we’d have a much better idea of what these variants are going to do to us and at the same time would have a much broader population that had been vaccinated.”

He said until there are more people vaccinated and there are fewer new daily cases, people should continue to wear masks and socially distance.