Omaha women request that at-risk persons be back in phase 1B

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – An Omaha woman started a petition last week asking Governor Pete Ricketts to put people with high-risk diseases back on Phase 1B of the state vaccination schedule.

As of Tuesday morning, Mura O’Neill Rohe’s petition had nearly 1,500 signatures.

O’Neill Rohe has no disease; She fights for someone else. Her husband, nearly 13, is battling stage 4 cancer and became the driving force behind her petition.

“As we speak, he’s taking the first of two steps for major surgery that will have part of his liver removed and the next part is in 4-6 weeks and we’ve been really, really I really hope he’s done before.” this surgery gets at least one shot, and now we know that won’t happen, ”said O’Neill Rohe.

Ricketts announced last week that people with pre-existing conditions will be removed from Phase 1B and that the focus will shift more to age, as the majority of people who die from COVID-19 in Nebraska are 65 years and older.

O’Neill Rohe said the elderly should be high on the list, but so should people with pre-existing conditions.

She appreciates the growing support for the petition.

“There is a kind of quiet – until now – community of people in our situation who felt that they would be vaccinated soon until a few days ago and then found out they weren’t,” Rohe said. “And all of these people have friends and family who know exactly how difficult it was for the people in our situation.”

O’Neill Rohe says her family has had to make great sacrifices over the past year to reduce the risk wherever they can. She and her husband’s 7-year-old daughter haven’t gone to school in a year or have even played with a friend.

“Think back to March and April last year when it all started and people stopped going out. If people wiped their groceries and didn’t gather with anyone and do nothing, it never ended for us. “

Mura O’Neill Rohe hopes to send the governor a message.

“My message to Governor Pete Ricketts is that we are not trying to skip the line. We just want our next place in line. “”

In O’Neill Rohe’s case, a vaccine for her husband would – sooner rather than later – bring back a sense of comfort and normalcy they have longed for.

“It adds the added belief that if something happened it wouldn’t kill him and that’s the fear we’ve lived with every day for the past year,” she said. “We’ve spent every day of the past year being scared, and that would mean we don’t have to be scared anymore. We’re used to being scared of cancer and we’re used to fighting it, but every day we fear not being able to share a meal with his mother before major surgery so that we can send my daughter back to school and give her a little more normalcy in her life, especially when we steer my husband’s surgery and his recovery. “

O’Neill Rohe doesn’t know if things will change, but she’s hoping to get more signatures on her petition and send it to the governor. She said she will continue to be an advocate and voice for people with pre-existing medical conditions who want a vaccine and cannot yet get one.

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