OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s vaccine portal opened up for appointments on Thursday, but confusion erupts as some of those eligible argue they were unable to get through.
“I was right there ready to push the button and I couldn’t even get in. It was almost like waiting for concert tickets,” said Donna Witty, who is waiting to schedule a vaccine.
But State Department of Health officials say the number of vaccines is contributing to the problem.
“There is one problem this thing doesn’t solve. It doesn’t get us more vaccines,” said Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner of Community Health Services. “Our appointments are limited by supply and that’s just gonna be a core tenant moving forward. We can’t enter appointments into this system if we don’t have supply to support them.”
For those who sign up but are not yet eligible for vaccines, like teachers, the state says information will come at a later date via email.
“That individual will get a notification, an email notification that they’re now eligible to go in and look for an appointment,” Reed said.
For now, the only way to get that appointment is online, causing frustration for those without internet and people who aren’t tech savvy.
“We are enhancing out 2-1-1 staffing with a group of public health individuals that will create a subsection within 2-1-1 that calls can be diverted to, so that they can work with individuals and help walk them through the portal,” Reed said.
“I think everybody wants to know the truth,” Witty said.
Donna Witty, who is over 65 and a kidney transplant recipient, feels the sign-up process has created false hope for those wanting a vaccine quickly.
“We just want to know, ‘Is it not working yet?’ Just tell us. Tell us it won’t be ready until next week. We’ve already waited 10 months. We can wait another month,” Witty said.
As of 1:30 p.m. Thursday, over 180,000 Oklahomans have registered through the portal and 2,761 appointments have been made.
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