OCCHD Considers Creating New Vaccine Scheduler Due To Difficulties With State Portal

Monday, January 18th 2021, 10:29 pm
By: Barry Mangold


Officials at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department could create a new online scheduling program for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health launched a statewide portal for vaccine appointments on Jan. 7. As of Monday, 491,598 Oklahomans were registered. 

OCCHD Director Dr. Patrick McGough said Thursday during a board of health meeting that the OSDH scheduling tool is not compatible across different health care systems, making it cumbersome for the department. 

“We need something that’s interoperable with all of our local health care systems,” McGough said. “The (OSDH) system as it stands right now… is unable to do that.” 

The OSDH scheduling tool does not include a version for Spanish speakers. McGough said accessibility is a priority for the county. 

“We want to take care of our minorities by making things very easy and available to them,” McGough said. “We just feel it’s necessary for the constituents of Oklahoma County that we give them the best that we can.” 

The OSDH scheduling tool is, according to state officials, a work in progress. 

The state partnered with Microsoft to develop the scheduling tool in mid-December after deciding not to use a program by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said the first version of the portal was a minimally viable product. 

“It’s something that can meet our basic needs,” Reed said. He added updates to the program are forthcoming, the first of which will include a Spanish translation. 

“It’s not perfect, and we acknowledged that. Therefore, we have to be committed to making improvements on it,” Reed said. 

McGough said Thursday the department is still reviewing options for creating its own scheduling tool and had no estimate for when it could be available.