OCCHD's Preparedness Plan Puts Them At Top In The Nation For Vaccine Uptake

Thursday, September 23rd 2021, 4:21 pm
By: Erica Rankin


September is National Preparedness Month. The Oklahoma City-County Health Department's preparedness plan has put them at top in the nation for vaccine uptake.

While Oklahoma as a whole has lagged in vaccine uptake, Oklahoma County has not.

Right now, Oklahoma County sits at 76.6% of people 12 years of age and older with one dose of the vaccine. That has the county at the highest percentage of people with one dose of the vaccine in the state.

"We already know in Oklahoma, we are good at responding to disasters, but that public health piece was missing," said Blaine Bolding, OCCHD's chief of public health protection.

Bolding said public health preparedness really got its start after 9/11. In 2003, they got plugged in with the emergency management community.

"We plan with emergency management," said Bolding. "Fire, police, health care and EMS."

That planning was put into place when they had to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as they could.

Bolding said OCCHD has agreements set up with colleges, schools and other locations to set up sites where they can vaccinate or dispense medication at.

That allowed them to host large vaccine pods where at some they vaccinated thousands in just one day. 

Right now, Oklahoma County is just shy of 80% of those eligible for the vaccine having at least one dose, whereas in the state as a whole is only at 66%.

Bolding thinks the high vaccination rate is thanks to another part of their strategy, using various ways of communication to educate.

"We've really tried to get the message out here," said Bolding. "Through our partners as well as let people know the vaccine is safe and it is the best way to protect yourself, your family and end this pandemic."