Nebraska Preparing to Vaccinate Residents 75 and Older

Jan. 4, 2021, 4:08 p.m. ·

Angie Ling of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services speaks Monday (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

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Nebraska is gearing up to begin vaccinating people age 75 and older against COVID-19.

Currently, vaccines are going to front line health care workers, as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities, in what’s called “Phase 1a” of the state’s program. But at Gov. Pete Ricketts news conference Monday, Angie Ling of the Department of Health and Human Services said older Nebraskans will be next in line.

“Citizens age 75 and older will be the priority for phase 1B. Vaccinations will be accomplished through multiple methods, such as community vaccine clinics with the local health departments, health care providers and pharmacy partners,” Ling said.

Ling says that phase will begin in two to three weeks. And she says while details are still being worked out, people will be able to sign up for vaccinations online.

“We will be introducing a website in the coming weeks for citizens to register for vaccinations so they can be informed when their priority group is ready to be vaccinated, and also to assist with scheduling and follow up reminders,” she said.

Ling said there will be ways for people without access to computers to sign up as well, with details still to come.

Also at the news conference, Nebraska Public Power District President Tom Kent announced that the company Monolith, which has a plant about 20 miles southwest of Lincoln, has signed an agreement to purchase large amounts of energy to manufacture carbon black, a material used in products such as tires, and anhydrous ammonia, used as fertilizer.

“Monolith’s a very large customer – will be likely the largest electric consumer in the state once they’re done with their construction. And they were looking to supply 100 percent of their facility’s needs with renewable energy. So that’s about 2,000,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year that we will provide them under this agreement, which is enough electricity to basically power all the residences in the city of Lincoln,” Kent said.

Monolith CEO Rob Hanson said the company had originally planned to produce hydrogen to generate power, but it now makes more economic sense to use it to produce fertilizer.

Kent said NPPD will supply energy for the project using new wind and solar projects. He said those projects will not necessarily depend on the construction of the R Project, a controversial transmission line through the Sandhills that has so far been stymied by legal challenges.