Oklahoma making steady progress in vaccine distribution
February 5, 2021
In a time of uncertainty and frustration, I want to reassure you that Oklahoma is making good progress in distributing Covid-19 vaccine to those who need it most.
While we remain hopeful in this progress, let me be clear about one thing – it is not enough. We must continue to push to get more vaccine into our state and to Oklahomans.
Over the past couple weeks, Oklahoma has consistently been ranked among the top 10 states for vaccine distribution. As of Feb. 1, over 647,000 Oklahomans have registered for the vaccine and over 130,000 appointments have been booked. But again, it is not enough.
We’re expanding points of access across the state, establishing PODS (Point of Dispensing Sites) where people can easily receive the vaccine and increasing appointment availability as much as we can. We’re ensuring people who are most at risk from Covid-19 can get the vaccine, and our end goal is to be able to open the Covid-19 vaccine to all Oklahomans. And it is not yet enough.
There are lots of people who still need the vaccine, and I won’t be satisfied until they receive it. Nor will the rest of the State Department of Health team, or the hardworking medical professionals who are on the front lines all across our state.
Regardless of the incredible work ahead, I do want to emphasize that we’re moving at a good pace with the resources we’ve received from the federal government to date – faster than most of our neighboring states. That’s something Oklahoma should be proud of.
As we transition into working with the Biden administration, we’re going to stay closely in touch with the federal government and remain transparent with Oklahomans on any developments. OSDH will provide regular updates on the progress we’re making, what to expect in terms of vaccine supply and how we’re continuing to progress through the distribution plan.
I know there’s a lot that weighs heavy on Oklahomans right now. There are many unknowns. But if you can be confident in one thing, it’s that a lot of dedicated people in Oklahoma are working tirelessly to ensure you can get the vaccine if you choose to. And they’re going to keep pushing until that happens.
In the meantime, the best way you can help us is by taking individual precautions. Follow the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. Limit your exposure to people outside your household as much as you can.
And as hard as it is to be patient right now – please do.
I’ve been so proud to see Oklahomans band together over the past several months and demonstrate the Oklahoma standard by handling this situation with patience, grace and hard work. I ask you to join us as partners in upholding this standard as we continue the fight against Covid-19.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re on our way to it, together.
(Keith Reed is Deputy Commissioner with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.)