All 500 COVID-19 shots at the Kroc Center were spoken for Friday after the Douglas County Health Department opened vaccine access to include those ages 65 and older the day before.
Douglas County officials had concerns about the low turnout of those 70 and older at their Kroc Center Clinic. That all changed when officials lowered the age limit for COVID-19 vaccines to 65.
“Once we did that, this clinic really filled up,” said Phil Rooney from the Douglas County Health Department.
Tom Olson was one of those who helped fill up the Kroc Center appointment book.
“I’ve been very anxious to get the shot cause of my age and I’ve been worried about it for a while,” he said. “So yesterday, I found out they lowered the age, and I was very excited about that. In fact, I told my wife this morning: I was just plain giddy about being able to get the shot.”
Health department officials said they believe they can reach more people by setting up clinics across the county in a variety of neighborhoods. They expect to see more people vaccinated as more people become eligible and plan to set up some permanent vaccination sites to handle crowds.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Rooney said. “Hopefully, we’ll have refrigeration capabilities there where we won’t have to set up and tear down. It will also keep us away from anybody who might be impacted by people who potentially have the disease coming into their facility. That’s one of the big things, making sure it’s safe for everybody, not exposing anyone else needlessly to the disease.”
The move to a wider age group gave more people in the county some hope.
“My life has been on hold for a year, pretty much,” Olson said. “Been at home, you know, not going anywhere. Not doing anything. And so we’re excited about being able to maybe get out and travel a little more.”
Douglas County officials said they have set up 4,800 appointments for vaccinations at Saturday’s clinic on the Creighton University campus, where the Rasmussen Center recently expanded the clinic hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.