State health officials said COVID-19 vaccines could be arriving in Oklahoma as early as November.
State Department of Health Chief of Staff Jackie Shawnee said Oklahoma is expecting enough doses for 20,000 to 30,000 people in the first round of distribution. The estimation is fewer than one percent of the state’s population.
“I think we would all agree that paramedics or firefighters or other people who are on the front line that have that first contact with a person who may or may not be infected might be a high priority,” OU Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said earlier this month.
According to a state health department presentation, “paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings” would be first to receive the vaccine.
However, according to a 2018 survey by the American Hospital Association, 60,886 people work in hospitals across Oklahoma.
After healthcare workers, other essential workers, and people at a higher risk, including senior citizens, would be next in line, according to the CDC guidance.
“We know here in Oklahoma almost 80 percent of the deaths are in patients who are 65 years of age and older, so that may be a group that gets prioritized for vaccination,” Dr. Bratzler said.
You can read more about the CDC’s suggestions on vaccine distribution here.