Federal government’s promised COVID-19 vaccine for booster shots not coming to Oklahoma

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Health Department is experiencing more problems after learning the federal government does not have the promised surplus of vaccines on hand for booster shots, meaning the state is now in charge of sorting that out.

“I don’t think that’s gonna be any significant delay on the overall vaccination effort. It’s just not the escalation that we wanted,” said Keith Reed, Oklahoma State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner.

OSDH faces a new challenge for the state’s vaccine rollout.

“We were given a clear impression that for every prime dose we were receiving each week, there was an equivalent amount of vaccine held back for second dose,” Reed said.

Reed says now that won’t be the case.

“Essentially, we will be left to sort out the boost and prime inventory to ensure that we get second doses to our citizens,” Reed said.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool)

OSDH says as of Friday morning 458,426 Oklahomans have registered on the vaccine portal and 53,227 appointments have been made.

Amanda Harness says she had family members who were lucky enough to get their initial appointments, but is now concerned about how hard it will be to get their booster shots.

“They said, ‘Yeah, you’ll need to schedule it,’ but we don’t know how to do that. They’re saying ‘don’t call.’ They’re overwhelmed. ‘Go through the portal.’ Well, there is no way to schedule a second dose as far as we know,” Harness said. “I work in healthcare, so I’m trying to be patient and understanding that everyone is working as fast as they can. I’m hopeful they will figure out a solution before their boosters are due.”

Reed says those booster shot appointments aren’t fully available yet on the portal and they won’t be available until one to two weeks before the date you are eligible for your second shot.

Also, adding the impact from Friday’s announcement shouldn’t slow down the state’s vaccine rollout.

“We want to pick up momentum. We want to be challenged,” Reed said. “Without that escalation in supply, we’re left on a steady state course.” 

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