Oklahoma revises vaccine plan with more doses expected
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma health department has added paramedics, emergency medical technicians and CVS and Walgreens staff who will administer the COVID-19 vaccine in long-term care facilities to those who will receive the vaccine first.
State health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said Friday the addition is largely due to the state now expecting to receive more than 166,000 vaccine doses by the end of December, up from an initial estimate of 43,000.
“We are getting more vaccine than we anticipated, it is coming in at larger numbers,” than expected, Frye said. “Of course the plan is fluid and has changed some.”
Others already first in line for the vaccine are health care workers and long-term care providers and residents under a plan that Frye said follows federal Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
The health department hopes for a shipment of 33,150 Pfizer doses as soon as next Wednesday and another 38,000 about one week later. Shipments of 660,000 doses of Moderna vaccine are hoped for about Dec. 23, followed by a 29,200-dose shipment about one week later, according to the health department.
A U.S. government advisory panel on Thursday endorsed widespread use of Pfizer’s vaccine, putting the country just one step away from launching an epic vaccination campaign against the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans.
Next week, the FDA will review the Moderna vaccine for potential approval.
The state health department on Friday reported 229,353 total virus cases and said that the state has surpassed 2,000 deaths with 2,007 total, increases of 3,900 cases and 27 dead. The department reported 1,730 people hospitalized with the virus or under investigation for infection.
On Thursday, the Cherokee Nation said it expects to receive 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Indian Health Services for its most vulnerable citizens.
“I know some of our Cherokee elders may have reservations about taking the vaccine, but it will save our elders, our speakers, our National Treasures and frontline workers,” ” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.
The OU Health Sciences Center also announced it is the recipient of a $5 million federal grant to provide more COVID-19 testing sites in rural areas of the state and work with primary care clinics to test more patients.