The Oklahoma State Department of Health will stop allocating doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to CVS and Walgreens so they can be used for other priority groups.
CVS and Walgreens are administering a federal program to vaccinate nursing homes and other care facilities, which have been prioritized for early vaccination.
“The program is not moving as fast as we would like it to move,” said Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner of Health.
To date, OSDH has allocated about 97,500 doses to the companies, Reed said, and nearly 33,000 have been administered to residents and staff.
Because only about a third of the companies’ supply has been used, Reed said they will distribute future doses elsewhere.
“If those are going to sit in a freezer and they’re not going to get to Oklahomans for several weeks down the road, we need to redirect that,” he said.
CVS and Walgreens are expected to finish the first-round of doses at every facility enrolled in the federal program in the first week of February, Reed said.
In a statement, CVS said it is on schedule and will ask the state to reclaim any unused doses later.
“Criticism that our long-term care vaccination program is slow or behind schedule in the state of Oklahoma is misinformed and not accurate. We remain on target within the parameters of the program, as agreed to by the state,” CVS said in a statement.
“Since the state activated skilled-nursing facilities on December 21, we finished administering the first doses for all 60 of these Oklahoma facilities that chose to partner with CVS Pharmacy on January 11. Second doses also are nearly 80% complete. Oklahoma activated assisted-living and other long-term care facilities on January 12, and we will finish first doses for these partner locations on February 2.”
Walgreens did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Reed said the weekly allotment for the companies was about 13,000 doses per week. Those will instead be used to add slots to the state’s vaccine scheduling portal, where appointments have been in short supply for those aged 65 and older.
“That means more appointments will be available for that population,” he said.