Nearly 1.7 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered
Mike Seals - March 23, 2021 10:40 pm
Propels Oklahoma’s Shift To Phase 4
By: Grant Stephens
(NewsOn6) – The state health department said every Oklahoman will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday.
Many factors play into how the state chooses who is eligible for vaccines, but a big part of the equation is how rural health departments are doing.
Oklahoma’s move into phase four is a huge step towards getting all of Oklahoma’s nearly four million people vaccinated.
Keith Reed, the deputy health commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health wants to keep the ball rolling.
“It’s remarkable to consider that we are approaching 1.7 million doses given to Oklahomans,” he said.
“We wanted to maintain a steady demand. We want to make sure that there’s always somebody available to get vaccinated. We’re opening it up because we want to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Reed said.
Reed said one factor in the change was a slowed demand in rural counties, due in part to the number of people already vaccinated in earlier phases.
Kaitlan Thatcher with the Wagoner County Health Department said proximity to Tulsa and Broken Arrow has kept their vaccine demand consistent, but another phase is another step towards normalcy.
“Moving into phase four is just really going to benefit us,” she said. “I just think it’s really going to help them get back to a normal way of life.”
With the invitation extended to 16 and 17-year-olds, Thatcher and Reed both encourage younger Oklahomans to step up and get the vaccines as soon as possible.
“We are poised to finish strong, but we haven’t crossed that finish line yet. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, please take action to do so now. Let’s not give this virus the opportunity to resurge. Let’s shut it down,” Reed said.
Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for people 16 and older. Reed said if you’re under 18, you must choose a vaccination site that carries it and get parent or guardian permission.