Nebraska’s first drive-through vaccination clinic opens in northern Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The state of Nebraska opened a transit clinic in northern Omaha on Thursday that they hope will make it easier for minorities to get vaccinated.

“We know minorities are disproportionately affected, and we want to make sure there are enough access points for everyone to vaccinate,” said Angela Ling, operations commander for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

State officials say it is important to include this vaccination site in the black community. Minorities in Nebraska and across the country are lagging behind in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ericka Butler was one of many people in a long line on the campus of the Metropolitan Community College in Fort Omaha on Thursday. She said she believed more blacks should line up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We definitely need to get the COVID shot because we are at high risk,” she said. “A lot of us have high blood pressure, diabetes and all that … I think it’s definitely a great thing to have that kind of role in our community.”

State officials planned to vaccinate 400 people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Thursday. Recent reports of a mix-up in the manufacture of the J&J vaccine affecting millions of doses that cannot be used made Butler think twice.

“I called the nurse back because someone called me and said, ‘You know Johnson & Johnson has a call back. You shouldn’t take that, ”she said. “I’m faith-based, so I thought it was a good thing to protect myself and my family and my beliefs too – and you have to use common sense too.”

Butler proceeded to take her shot. Others in line waited for J&J to shoot and were glad this clinic was a short drive away.

“I’m glad to see one in our neighborhood because I haven’t heard from very many who have been here, and I’ve especially been waiting for the Johnson & Johnson one,” said Betty Scott-Ruffin Omaha.

Butler said everything went better than she had imagined.

“I’m scared of needles so I had to get over the needle piece so I had my friend on the phone talking to me so it could distract me,” she said.

She hopes more people in her community will choose to sign up and get vaccinated.

State officials said the transit clinics at MCC Fort Omaha will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. Appointments are required and can be made on the Douglas County Health Department website if you were born in or before 1976.

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