OSDH To Update COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 5:20 am

The Oklahoma Health Department said so far 60,000 Oklahomans have made vaccine appointments through their online portal. Tuesday the OSDH will provide another update on how Oklahoma's vaccine rollout is going.

This will be the first update from the department since state leaders found out there would not be a big increase in the number of doses the state would be receiving. The expectation for an influx of doses was set by the federal government before they changed their distribution plan. 

State leaders said, as a result, Oklahoma's rate of incoming doses will remain largely unchanged.

The OSDH has been giving updates each week on the vaccine process, but people like teachers are waiting to hear when they will be able to get their first shot. 

While the state slowly gets doses in, people have to be quick to snag a vaccine appointment.

The health department initially planned on partnering with the CDC to create a scheduling tool but pivoted in mid-December. Instead, the OSDH signed on to pay Microsoft nearly half a million dollars to design their system. Deputy health commissioner Keith Reed acknowledged it's a work in progress. 

"It's not perfect, and we acknowledged that," said Reed. "So therefore we have to be committed to making improvements on it."

But there's been frustration at the county level. OKC County Health Department leaders told New 9 the county is looking at creating its own scheduling tool for vaccinations.

"We need something that's interoperable with all of our local healthcare systems, and the system as it stands right now, the scheduler that's been put out by state department of health, is unable to do that," said OCCHD Director Patrick McGough.

McGough also said they are worried about accessibility.

"We want to make sure there's an English and a Spanish version," said McGough. "We want to take care of our minorities by making things very easy and available to them."

OSDH says they are working to improve their portal and already working on a Spanish translation.

The department will be giving a vaccine update at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.