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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Highlights Community CARES Initiative, Encourages Immunization

Gov. Ricketts (podium) provides an update on the State’s plan to Get Nebraska Growing.


Video from today’s briefing is available by clicking here.

Governor Press Release 6.26.2020 - SPANISH.pdf

LINCOLN – On Thursday, at an afternoon press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts discussed the State of Nebraska’s Community CARES program.  Through the initiative, the State is allocating $85 million to support community organizations such as food banks, shelters, and mental health care providers as they face increased demand for their services due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) CEO Dannette R. Smith joined the Governor to provide specifics on the Community CARES program.   

Additionally, the State’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Anthone, and Caryn Vincent—Deputy Director of Public Health at DHHS—joined the Governor to emphasize the importance of keeping kids’ immunizations up-to-date.


Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska

  • We continue to encourage people to take the assessment.
  • All Nebraskans are now eligible to get tested.
    • The last remaining limiting criteria has been lifted in Douglas County.
  • Test Nebraska mobile sites will be in the following communities in the next few days: Hastings, Imperial, North Platte, Omaha, Seward, South Sioux City, and Springfield.
  • Next week, Test Nebraska will also partner with the following hospitals and health centers to do testing:
    • Blair Memorial Hospital
    • Community Hospital in Columbus
    • Good Neighbor Health Center in Columbus
    • Kearney Regional Medical Center
    • Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk
    • Franciscan Care Services in West Point
    • York General Hospital


CEO Smith: Community CARES

  • Community CARES offers $85 million for Nebraska’s charities and providers to respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus.
  • Stabilization Grants - $40 million
    • These grants offer direct assistance to charitable and provider organizations that have experienced losses or increased expenses due to the pandemic.
  • Response and Recovery Grants - $43 million
    • These grants support charitable and provider organizations as they offer services in their communities.
      • Services include meals, housing, behavioral health care, outreach to underserved populations, and more.
  • Healthy Places Grants - $2 million
    • These grants will be made as one-time payments to child care providers and centers of worship to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.
  • Potential applicants can visit for more information.
  • DHHS will also have a call center available to answer questions about the grants as of Monday, June 29th.  The number is (833) 220-0018.


Dr. Anthone: Immunizations

  • Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements.  They are among the most successful, cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death.
  • Vaccination can protect against 14 serious childhood diseases, including measles, mumps, flu, tetanus, polio, and whooping cough.
  • Vaccines not only help protect those who receive them, but they also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of disease.
  • Nebraska has a strong history of everyone working together—parents, health care providers, local health departments, public clinics, and schools—to make sure our children are immunized.
  • However, during the coronavirus pandemic, data is showing a decline in routine childhood vaccinations nationwide.
  • As families stay home to help slow the spread of the virus, many have missed routine vaccination appointments.
  • The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend every child continue to receive routine vaccinations during the coronavirus outbreak.


Caryn Vincent: Immunizations

  • As communities are opening up, it’s important for parents to work with their health care provider to make sure children stay up-to-date on routine vaccines.
  • If your child is due for a well-child visit or an immunization, call your health care provider’s office, local clinic, or health center and ask about how they are offering visits during the pandemic.
  • Many health care providers are taking extra steps to make sure visits are safe, such as:
    • Having all staff and patients wear masks
    • Reducing the number of people in waiting rooms
    • Scheduling well-child visits at a different time of day than sick visits or at a different location
    • Allowing only one adult to accompany a child to appointments
    • Offering telehealth appointments with separate, in-office appointments for immunizations
  • DHHS offers the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program.  It’s a federally funded and state-operated vaccine supply program that provides vaccines to eligible children at no cost or low cost at various providers throughout the state.
  • Children are eligible for the VFC program if they are 18 years old or younger and meet at least one of the following requirements:
    • Are American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Are eligible for Medicaid
    • Are uninsured
    • Are underinsured
  • More information on the VFC program is available on the DHHS website: or by calling (800) 798-1696.


Full video of today’s press briefing is available by clicking here.