Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

And Now The Vaccine

Phase 1 Of Vaccinations Starts Quickly In Kimball

The vaccine has arrived and, according to Kim Engel, director of Panhandle Public Health District, Phase 1a should move along “pretty quickly.”

Engel told the Observer on Tuesday afternoon that they were just receiving the vaccine at that moment.

Although everything is subject to change, Phase 1a includes Healthcare Personnel and Long-term Care Facilities – and that has already started locally as Kimball Health Services has received the Moderna vaccine and vaccinations started on Tuesday for those in Phase 1a. (See report on Page A8.)

The situation is fluid.

An employee at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services told the Observer that “things keep changing” and Phase 1a could last until perhaps March before Phase 1b begins, but nothing is for certain at this point.

Phase 1b will include vaccinations for first responders, law enforcement, utility workers, the education sector and transportation – and recently added to Phase 1b will be people over the age of 75. Food and Agriculture employees were also in phase 1b, but changes might be made in this area.

Kim Engel said it will be “clearly announced” when each phase is ready to begin, what people will be in that phase, and how people should get the vaccination.

Phase 1c vaccinations will be directed to those 65 years of age and older, vulnerable populations, congregate settings, college and universities.

And finally, Phase 2 of the Panhandle Vaccine Timeline will be for the feneral population.

Kimball County Manor is preparing for Phase 1.

According to Director Shannon Monheiser, the manor will be getting vaccines for staff and residents the first week in January. At the present time, caregivers there are obtaining consent for their residents to vaccinated.

Although the staff is encouraged to take the vaccine, it is not mandatory for them. As of Monday, the Kimball County Manor is the only nursing home in the Panhandle where there have been no positive resident cases of COVID-19.

Kimball County Manor will be receiving the Pfizer vaccines through Walgreens Pharmacy. Walgreens will have a clinic to administer the vaccines and, in addition, there will be emergency medicine should a reaction occur.

The Panhandle Public Health District COVID-19 Risk Dial has dropped backward solidly into the “high zone” for Christmas week 2020 following the increased outbreak in previous weeks.

Since March, Kimball County has experienced 323 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. PPHD has eliminated the active case number on their tally and changed that number to the positives in the last 14 days, which is 79 for Kimball County.