Can Oklahomans over the age of 65 get the coronavirus vaccine yet?
It depends on where they live.
State officials didn’t expect to enter the coronavirus vaccine plan’s second phase until January. But health departments started vaccinating some of that group — Oklahomans over 65 — throughout the holidays. Most of the notifications happened over social media — not state websites or other official lines of communication.
State health officials clarified during a briefing on Monday that some counties had enough supply to move on to the next priority population.
"If an area of the state is at a point where they have experienced that they can no longer fill up their appointment slots or fill up their clinics with that group, we’re going to go ahead and give them the green light to move onto 65-plus," said Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed, who has been overseeing the program. "And the reason for that is vaccine in a freezer doesn’t do any good."
Reed said that trend is expected to continute because different regions within the state have different local resources. Some counties will move through the plan more quickly than others.
One thing will change, though. Health departments won’t rely on social media and phone calls alone to set up appointments.
Oklahoma will roll out a statewide vaccination appointment app this week. It’s designed only for those who get their shots at state and county sites, not those using doctor’s offices. Officials said the app doesn’t have a name yet, but it's expected to go live Thursday.
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.