Health officials say the recent rise in positive COVID-19 tests are alarming. Over 7,000 new cases have been reported in the last two days.
Thousands of doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are expected in the state by the end of next week, but healthcare providers are urging everyone to continue to take the necessary precautions going forward.
Last week, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced 33,000 doses of the vaccine will be in Oklahoma as early as Friday.
However, officials with the department said the spread must be contained.
According to the OSDH, the state currently has a 7-day average of over 2,700 new COVID-19 cases. While a surge was expected around the holiday season, the recent spike in numbers are still cause for concern.
“In November, we had almost 75,000 new cases confirmed which was 37 percent of all of the cases we’ve had since the start of the pandemic,” OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said.
State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye emphasized the importance of exercising safety precautions in a statement.
“This is still a global pandemic that we must not grow weary of protecting our communities from, especially as we anticipate increased spread this winter season,” Dr. Frye’s statement said in part.
As numbers have climbed, Dr. Douglas Drevets with OU Medicine said a vaccine arriving as soon as next week is promising.
“We really need the vaccine to get back to something like what we think is of normal life,” Dr. Drevets said.
However, Dr. Drevets said the vaccine can bring side effects including pain at the injection site, fatigue and a headache.
“Those happen in anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of people are generally mild or moderate,” Dr. Drevets said.
Officials said there are very few severe reactions. Healthcare workers, people in long-term care facilities and public health staff will be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The OSDH anticipates it will be available to the general public sometime in 2021.
The OSDH also said there are pre-determined sites that will receive the initial vaccine shipments. These sites will have the proper storage requirements.