State Health Commissioner Hopes Vaccination Rates Will Rise Once Vaccines Get Full FDA Approval


Friday, July 9th 2021, 4:16 pm
By: Erica Rankin


For the first time since April, the number of new COVID-19 cases has topped out at more than 550.

Leaders with the state health department held a news conference on Friday to give an update on COVID-19 and vaccinations in the state.

State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lance Frye, said the state has plenty of vaccines, but they’ve hit a wall in people coming to get them.

He said the age group falling behind the most is those ages 12 to 34.

More than 550 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday and that brought the seven-day rolling average to 314.

"It is an uptick and I don’t want to minimize it,” said Frye. “The numbers, overall, are still small compared to where we were, but it's still definitely an increase."

The only way to stop the numbers from trending upwards even more is through vaccinations, Frye said.

"If everyone was vaccinated, the spreading of the variants would be much less,” said Frye. “We also don't want people to die or have serious illness."

Right now, all three vaccine options -- Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson -- are operating under an emergency use authorization (EUA), but that could soon change for two of the three.

"Pfizer, as well as Moderna, have already begun their rolling submission for the full biologic license application which is the full approval that comes as the next step after the emergency use authorization,” said Dr. Gitanjali Pai, the state’s chief medical officer.

If and once Pfizer and Moderna gain that full approval, Frye said he hopes that will give Oklahomans on the fence the peace of mind that the vaccines are safe and effective.

"That's a common fear people have,” said Frye. “That is still under emergency use authorizations, so they want to wait for more data and until it is fully approved."

Health officials are urging people to get tested, even if they are fully vaccinated.

They are also urging those who haven't received their second dose, which is about 1,500 Oklahomans, to do so to be fully protected from variants like the more contagious Delta variant.