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Oklahoma Health Officials Respond To Depleted Vaccine Stockpile

A health care worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
Whitney Bryen
/
Oklahoma Watch
A health care worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

As recently as Wednesday, Oklahoma health officials were hopeful that the state’s weekly vaccine supply would double. But that hope disappeared Friday, when news broke that the federal stockpile fueling that supply surge is gone.

Health officials were expecting vaccine supply to double in coming weeks, allowing the state to ramp up its distribution.  

"I was under the illusion earlier this week," said Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed in a Friday briefing, "that there was additional supply out there, and it was sitting there."

But he got a call from the federal government vaccine suppliers on Thursday, where he learned that shipment would not double. He didn’t find out why until the next day. 

"Quite frankly," Reed said, "the additional information was from the media report." 

The Trump Administration and its vaccine team, Operation Warp Speed, had promised to stockpile vaccines to ensure states would have a steady supply for their residents’ required second doses. The Washington Post reported Friday that the administration began distributing those vaccines last month, and the stockpile is depleted.

Oklahomans will still get their first and second doses, but it’s going to take even more patience.

 

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

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