Oklahoma plans to open vaccines to nearly entire population

March 8, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma health officials plan to start offering coronavirus vaccines Tuesday to workers in a wide range of essential industries, a move that will immediately make a vast majority of Oklahomans eligible to receive a vaccine.

Also eligible for the vaccine beginning Tuesday will be child-care workers and students and employees at colleges, universities and vocational schools.

“This is a big step,” said Oklahoma’s Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed. “By the time we roll this group in, we’ve practically covered everyone in the state.”

Reed says the latest expansion should include all but about 500,000 Oklahomans.


Oklahoma’s list of essential industries includes a wide range of jobs, including manufacturing, construction, communications, energy, finance, state and federal government, transportation and retail.

Oklahoma currently ranks tenth in the nation with 20.9% of its population having received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That compares to a national average of 18.1%.

Meanwhile, state health officials on Tuesday reported 165 confirmed new cases of coronavirus and no new deaths. That brings the total number of confirmed infections to nearly 430,000, while the state’s death count remains at 7,219.

Oklahoma’s seven-day rolling average of test positivity rate, daily new cases and daily deaths have all declined over the last two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.