Private developers release text alerts for COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As health officials in Oklahoma continue to try to vaccinate Oklahomans as quickly as possible, they say they are just as frustrated with the slow progress as the public.

“Yeah, I’m frustrated. We are able to use all the tools that we kinda set up, we had in the tool box,” said Deputy State Health Commissioner Keith Reed. “We are not able to use those, we don’t have inventory to do so; if we were able to do so, I know we would have a lot more appointments available to Oklahomans. I know that’s what they want and it’s what we want too.”

Right now, officials say the state gets between 80,000 and 90,000 doses a week.

However, they say that is not nearly enough.

Right now, Oklahomans 65 and up are the bulk of the people waiting for a dose. Officials say they have not opened up shots to people under 65 with comorbidities yet.

While officials are frustrated, Oklahomans who are waiting to get an appointment are livid.

Thousands of residents say that although they are eligible to receive a vaccine, they have been unable to do so through the state’s vaccine portal.

Now, people are taking matters into their own hands to help other Oklahomans get a vaccine.

Oklahomans are now able to sign up for text messages that will alert them when new vaccine appointments are available, however this is not connected to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In fact here is a statement from OSDH’s Deputy Commissioner:

The Vaccine Alerts website is in no way connected to OSDH, nor can the agency verify the accuracy of the information contained within it. OSDH encourages Oklahomans to continue using our Vaccinate.Oklahoma.gov portal to register and find available appointments. We know there are many who are interested in receiving the vaccine, and the state is continually updating the website to make it easier to use. Please keep in mind, there are a limited number of vaccines available, so we ask Oklahomans to be patient, and continue being vigilant utilizing the three W’s (wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands). 

Keith Reed, OSDH Deputy Commissioner

The private developers say you must already be registered on the state’s vaccine portal to sign up for the text alerts.

The text alerts will occur when appointments are uploaded to the portal. Once you receive a text alert, organizers say you still have to go online quickly to book an appointment. This is not a guarantee of an appointment just an alerting system.

To sign up or learn more about the text alerts, click here.

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