The Kroc Center Partners with DCHD to Host Nine COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

Apr 7, 2021

Shirley Earnest, 76, of south Omaha, admits she was a little nervous when she signed up to receive her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but she’s also grateful it was available and easily accessible right in her own neighborhood. “I am trusting the process,” she said recently, as she waited to receive the shot from a volunteer Army medic at the The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center. “It feels like the right thing to do, and it’s making my children and my family happy that I am here.”

For Shirley, the pandemic has hit close to home. Her brother-in-law died this past winter from complications related to COVID-19, and her sister recently recovered from the virus. “I feel blessed to be here,” she said.

Shirley is one of more than 2,000 Douglas County residents who have received a vaccine at one of the nine clinics hosted by the The Salvation Army Kroc Center in partnership with Douglas County Health Department over the last six weeks.

“The people in South Omaha suggested the Kroc Center as a distribution site, and it’s worked out very well,” said Phil Rooney, spokesperson for the Douglas County Health Department. “We wanted to make sure this part of the community is served, and this building – because of the space and the opportunity to spread out -- is well-suited for a clinic.”

“We have the room to accommodate people, and we’re excited to be able to help the community in this way,” said Kroc Center Aux. Capt. John Gantner.

Douglas County Health Department nurse practitioner Shannon Stafford has been assisting at various vaccination clinics around Omaha. “It feels good to be moving in the right direction,” she said, as she withdrew vaccine fluid from a vial into a syringe. “I’m glad to see so many people willing to receive the vaccine and coming out to get it.”

Richard Rein, 77, whose daughter registered him for the clinic when she heard about it on the news, said he was pleased with the organization and efficiency of the process. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” he said, while he waited the required 15 minutes after receiving his vaccination. “It’s been really easy.”

Marco Kpeglo-Leroc, who brought his 65-year-old mother, Lydia Kpeglo, to the Kroc Center to receive her first dose of the vaccine, acknowledged that the opportunity to be vaccinated is a privilege. “A lot of people around the world don’t have access to it,” said Marco, who immigrated to Nebraska from West Africa several years ago. “We are very lucky.”

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