COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in Oklahoma within weeks

The vaccines would be distributed to priority groups in phases

TULSA, Okla. — The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Oklahoma in mid-December, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

OSDH says the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in the state sometime between Dec. 10-14, with ongoing doses becoming available in the following weeks.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to be available in Oklahoma around Dec. 22.

Both distributors have yet to get FDA approval for their respective vaccines but have requested emergency use authorization to expedite the process.

OSDH says the state will receive 30,000 doses from Pfizer and 10,000 doses from Moderna.

The state health department is expected to hold a news conference on Thursday to announce more details.

Gov. Kevin Stitt visited Vice President Mike Pence in mid-November to go over Oklahoma’s vaccine plan which would likely begin with distribution to health care workers and the vulnerable population.

I had a great meeting at the White House yesterday with Vice President Mike Pence. We talked about how close COVID-19...

Posted by Governor Kevin Stitt on Thursday, November 19, 2020

In a draft of the state’s plan, the vaccines would be distributed in phases.

Phase 1 begins as the state receives a “very low” supply of the vaccine. Stitt said in a recent news conference that he expected about 2,000 vaccines to be delivered at the start of the plan’s rollout.

An advisory committee would be in charge of determining “priority groups” that would be the most vital to get the vaccine to first.

“Healthcare staff working in Long Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities will be the first priority,” the plan says.

As more shipments become available during Phase 1, they’d be sent to local health departments.

This phase of the plan acknowledges there are still unknowns when it comes to the logistics of storing, transporting, and distributing the vaccine. Experts say the Pfizer vaccine would require “ultra-cold freezers” that may be difficult to fund.

Phase 2 begins as a larger supply of vaccines becomes available and local health departments and some tribes will be expected to start setting up mass immunization clinics.

“Curbside and drive in vaccine clinics will likely be used by providers to allow for quick vaccination and control of spread.”

Phase 3 begins as the State Department of Health expects vaccine supply to begin meeting the demand and most priority groups having received the vaccine.

As more people who need -- or want -- the vaccine receive it, the state says there will be some concern over storage as demand decreases.

Ben Morgan

News Editor

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