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

29% of Kimball County Fully Vaccinated

On May 3 the Unified Command confirmed that Kimball County once again has zero COVID-19 cases and vaccinations are continuing.

Panhandle Public Health District has vaccination data per county, and Kimball County data shows that 837 individuals are fully vaccinated, which equals 29% of the population. Banner County data reports that 38% of residents are fully vaccinated, and Scotts Bluff County reports 36% of the people have been fully vaccinated.

Dr. Matthew Bruner, OB/GYN and Chief Medical Officer at Regional West Health Services based in Scottsbluff, joined the regular Monday briefing to discuss COVID vaccines and answer questions from attendees. Bruner has been involved regionally and statewide in COVID response and addressed an array of misconceptions and information circulating.

One misconception has been commonly shared around the vaccine causing infertility.

"We've seen people into their second trimester who have received the vaccine before pregnancy. The concern has been debunked, and this has been affirmed by reproductive endocrinologists," said Dr. Bruner.

As a freedom-loving American, he believes people can make their own decisions. Still, those decisions involve the safety of the person and the population's safety, which is improved with vaccinations.

When asked about encouraging older people to get the vaccine, Dr. Bruner relayed the importance of weighing the risk and benefits. Some people find that 24-36 hours of potentially not feeling good is not worth it but what they don't realize is this could keep them from having a severe bout of COVID. Potential side effects are true with getting your shingles, whooping cough, and measles shots as well.

While he acknowledged the reluctance, he shared the importance of more people needing to get the COVID shot, or we must continue with social distancing and masking as it just prolongs the pandemic.

"The vaccines are safe, and the ability of the vaccine to cover the disease is excellent. I encourage everybody to take the leap and get the vaccination. Finish the course, don't skip it just with one [specific to a two-dose series]. Don't be afraid of it; patients that we have seen recently in medical care have been unvaccinated individuals," Dr. Bruner concluded.

Ample COVID vaccine supply and appointments are available. Panhandle residents 18 and older can self-schedule with two easy steps:

Register on the vaccinate.ne.gov website.

Kimball: https://tinyurl.com/d2u8txrs

The two steps are encouraged to ease the vaccine process. There is no charge for the vaccine. Pfizer will be coming soon to the Panhandle. Teens ages 16 & 17 can register now at vaccinate.ne.gov. For the Moderna shot, the second dose is needed to produce the best immunity results.

People who are entirely COVID vaccinated will not be required to quarantine due to close contact. If you have lost your COVID vaccine card, go to https://tinyurl.com/2zh7uhhu.

Unified Command confirms 20 more cases of COVID in the Panhandle since last reporting on Monday, April 26. The investigations are underway, all close contacts will be quarantined.