A healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine at the Center for People in Need on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Vaccination clinics through the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department this week will provide vaccination opportunities for younger individuals, including some of the general University of Nebraska-Lincoln student body later this week.

LLCHD officials expect to provide the first COVID-19 vaccination doses to residents age 20 and older at large-scale clinics later this week, with two scheduled at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday and Friday, according to a City of Lincoln news release.

These clinics will include opportunities for UNL students, including nonresident and international students, to get vaccinated, according to Deb Fiddelke, UNL’s chief communication and marketing officer. 

“We’re thrilled that it’s happening so quickly,” Fiddelke said.

The university opened a vaccination registry for employees, including student workers, in February, and this is the most recent effort from the university to increase vaccinations on campus.

“The clinics this week are not going to be the last opportunity for students to sign up and get vaccinated,” she said.

UNL announced a student COVID-19 registry in partnership with LLCHD last Thursday, which was scheduled to close on Sunday at 5 p.m. but has since been reopened, according to Fiddelke.

Students should select “students-higher education” and then “University of Nebraska” and use their local address for the new registry. This will allow nonresidential and international students to register as well.

Students who registered through the student registry or who previously registered with the health department should have received an email to set up a vaccination appointment.

“They don’t call to set up the appointment, they email you, so you really need to check whatever email you put in the registry,” Fiddelke said.

Individuals still interested in getting vaccinated can fill out the registry through the online portal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and side effects may occur. Individuals who previously had COVID-19 should still be vaccinated, according to the CDC.

With COVID-19 variants emerging, the CDC report studies show currently approved vaccinations are still effective against them, though more research is being conducted.

In the meantime, local health officials say it is a race to get people vaccinated before more variants emerge.

More CDC information on myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines is available here.

As UNL continues to coordinate with the health department for further vaccinations, Fiddelke said she is hopeful they can coordinate for a dedicated clinic on campus.

She encourages students who get vaccinated to share it on social media and with friends and family.

However, individuals should be cautious of posting their uncensored vaccination cards online due to potential privacy concerns, according to The New York Times.

“The vaccine is the most effective way to prevent yourself from getting COVID[-19],” Fiddelke said. “It is also the most effective way to help protect the people around you if you do get it.”

While there has been a good response from students in response to vaccinations, Fiddelke said the university is looking for ways to increase the number of students who get vaccinated.

Students with suggestions on what UNL can do to encourage vaccines or general COVID-19 questions can email covid19@unl.edu

“As we close out this semester, I think that’s by far our biggest priority is to get students vaccinated,” Fiddelke said.

Readers who have additional questions about COVID-19 that they would like The Daily Nebraskan to look into can submit a Curious Cornhuskers question.

Masks will continue to be mandated at UNL to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the university does not have plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in the fall, but students are encouraged to get vaccinated if they find the opportunity.

This includes the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which opened vaccinations to all Nebraska residents 18 and older on March 29.

Further resources on finding vaccinations are available here, courtesy of the CDC.

“Having as many people vaccinated on our campus is going to be critical to having things as close to normal as we would all want this fall,” Fiddelke said.