OSDH: Vaccine Doses Will Be Split Between 1st Time Recipients, 2nd Time Recipients

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 5:50 pm
By: Jordan Dafnis

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health held a briefing to update the public on the state's vaccine rollout plans.

As of right now, Oklahoma is in Phase 2 of the state's vaccine distribution. Health care workers, first responders and adults 65 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. 

OSDH Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed said this week, the state is in the process of receiving 81,125 doses of the vaccine. Reed said they expect to receive another 86, 875 doses next week. 

Many Oklahomans have expressed frustration and confusion with the online portal system used to book an appointment. Reed said they are continuing to work out kinks and the process of getting vaccines distributed is complicated.

"This is where I am going to ask for some understanding from the public about how challenging this is with booster doses and second doses," said Reed.

Reed said that they were originally under the impression that the federal government was going to hold vaccines aside for the state to administer second doses.

"As of last week, we were under the impression that 50% of our doses were physically being stock piled in preparation for the need for second doses and that was what was being released to us, (but) that was not the case," he said.

In the future, OSDH will work with other providers in order to distribute vaccines, but in order to make that happen they need a higher number of vaccines to be available for distribution, Reed said. Right now, it is not clear when they will have enough to work with the additional providers.

For now, the vaccine shipments will be used to cover both first-time doses and second doses. So that 86,000 the state expects to receive next week will be used for both.

However, Reed said they are not going to store doses for those who need a second dose. They will use what they have based on the appointments made.

"We are going to get into kind of a pattern here with some weeks heavier with prime, some weeks heavier with boost. The big issue, the underlying theme is we still have to move the vaccine from freezer to individuals," said Reed.

As the nation makes the transition to a new administration, Reed said he does anticipate some sort of change, but at this point, he is not able to say how vaccine distribution in the state will be impacted.

"Do we expect change with the new administration? Yes, we do. Do I know what it is? No, I don't know what that change is going to be," Reed said. "So when we find out, we will do our best to communicate with you as soon as possible. We are trying our best to be as transparent as possible."