How Reduced COVID-19 Federal Funding Could Affect Some Oklahomans


Friday, March 18th 2022, 5:17 pm
By: Erika Lee


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The White House has warned that the federal government will be losing COVID-19 funding soon.

A fact sheet released on the White House’s website outlines the implications if Congress does not approve more funding.

If no additional funding is passed, treatment and testing for doctors and medical providers will run out.

They would no longer be reimbursed for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the uninsured and the federal government will be unable to purchase monoclonal antibodies. 

"What are we going to do when we can't get people vaccinated because they can't afford it?" Oklahoma State Medical Association president Mary Clarke said. "Or, if they can't get tested because they can't afford it?"

While COVID-19 cases are currently declining in Oklahoma, doctors said we still need to be prepared for the worst.

"Cases have come way down now," OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said. "So, I feel like a lot of people don't feel the urgency for testing and other things before when we were seeing cases each day.”

But Clarke said the numbers won't stay down forever.

"We don't know how to predict when that next variant might be, but we know there will be another one,” Clarke said.

Clarke said if we don't do anything about it, many Oklahomans will be hit with hard decisions that they shouldn't have to make, such as choosing between getting vaccinated or tested.

Clarke said she has customers that can't afford a $5 co-pay in rural communities.

For now, Bratzler encourages people to continue to seek free testing at various sites in Oklahoma as they are available.

He also suggested calling your local health department or pharmacy to check on medications and monoclonal antibodies already pre-paid for by the government.