OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “This was a new vaccine and I didn’t have any family or friends who had taken it, and I was adamant I was not going to get it.”
Tulsa resident Tricia Bergen shared her COVID-19 story, which included her own brush with death after contracting it.
“I had a serious case of COVID-19 last fall and I was on a ventilator for six weeks. I definitely didn’t want to get this again,” Bergen said.
Despite that, Bergen says it wasn’t until five months later when a blood test revealed no remaining COVID-19 antibodies in her blood that she finally agreed to get the shot.
Oklahoma doctors know that in Oklahoma, Tricia’s reluctance is the rule, and not the exception.
Less than one percent of COVID 19 tests are sequenced to track variants in Oklahoma – there are nine so far.
“We are last in testing for these variants. We are number 50 in the country,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, Oklahoma State Medical Association president.
Those variants could make the virus more transmissible or make patients sicker. Summer camps and programs are a growing concern. At New Life Ranch Camp in Northeastern Oklahoma, an outbreak of 25 cases in the staff is reported, despite a vaccination rate of 63 percent.
“As a parent whose kids have gone to this camp and are on the list to go to this camp this summer, it’s something every parent has got to consider,” said Dr. David Kendrick, who is with the OU School of Community Medicine.
New Life Ranch personnel say some of the positive cases are among staff members who are vaccinated.
They are following Oklahoma State Department of Health recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure among staff and campers.
They are also now requiring all campers to receive a negative COVID test before arriving at camp.