A COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Ogallala was canceled Thursday “due to threats against the safety of the staff,” according to the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department’s Facebook page.
A woman answering the telephone at the department’s McCook headquarters declined to comment on the situation. Health Director Myra Stoney was out of the office, she said.
The department’s Facebook post said people with appointments for vaccinations may call the McCook office at 308-345-4223 to reschedule them.
Ogallala Police Chief James Herman said Thursday afternoon that the Keith County Sheriff’s Office would be the lead agency in investigating the threats.
“They’re still in the preliminary part of it,” Herman said.
The Southwest health department covers nine counties: Keith, Perkins, Chase, Hayes, Frontier, Dundy, Hitchcock and Red Willow.
Its announcement of the clinic cancellation and threats yielded mostly comments of dismay on the department’s post and its reposting on the Ogallala News and Events Facebook page.
“Whether you’re for or against the shots, this is unacceptable behavior by anyone,” an Ogallala commenter replied to the health department. “This is not who we are as a community.”
“That is so sad,” read another reply to the original post. “So many people depend on those shots and immunizations for school entrance. ... We are a free country. You don’t want shots, don’t get them.”
“Praying for all county/district health employees,” another commenter said on the Ogallala news page. “They’ve been put through the wringer this year and don’t deserve this.”
Another response on the Ogallala page, however, welcomed the news. “About time people take matters into their hands,” it said. “Stay closed. #nodumbvaccine.”
Both the Southwest and Ogallala News and Events pages had removed their posts about the canceled clinic by Thursday afternoon.