OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State of Oklahoma officials said they have been declining some of their federal allocation Tuesday due to a decline in the demand for the vaccine in Oklahoma.
The state’s allocation normally exceeds 200,000 per week. Instead, they said they are only accepting into the tens of thousands of that. The left-over surplus is being reallocated to states with more demand after President Joe Biden’s plan to administer 100 million shots over the next 60 days. Biden said he wants 70 percent of Americans to have at least their first round by the fourth of July.
“I just don’t feel like it’s necessary,” said Shalonda Arnold, a woman who has not gotten the vaccine and does not plan to.
“If you’ve got a vaccine for a virus, you get the vaccine,” said Paul McQueen, a man who has gotten both doses of Moderna. “It keeps you safe, it keeps other people safe.”
As of right now, Oklahomans are still split 50/50 on whether or not they plan to get the vaccine.
“I just don’t really get sick like that so,” Arnold said.
“The vaccines are safe,” McQueen said. “The vaccines have been researched.”
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, about 1.2 million, or 39.5 percent, of Oklahoma’s adult population have been fully vaccinated. About 50.5 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose with a total of 2.7 million doses administered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, shows that 38.5 percent of Oklahoma’s total population has received at least one shot. About 29.6 percent are fully vaccinated.
“Definitely not satisfied that we’re where we need to be with this vaccination program,” said Keith Reed, Oklahoma’s Deputy Commissioner of Health.
Reed said at Oklahoma’s peak, 28,000 doses were being administered on a seven-day average. That number currently has dropped to around 10,000 to 11,000.
“That’s a significant decrease,” Reed said.
Oklahoma is usually allocated over 200,000 doses per week. However, Reed said the state is accepting less than that due to the low demand.
“It’s more in the tens of thousands versus the hundreds of thousands,” Reed said.
The surplus, due to Biden’s initiative, will now be shipped out to states who need them due to higher demand.
“We need you,” Biden said. “We need you to bring it home. Get vaccinated, in two months, let’s celebrate our independence as a nation, and our independence on this virus. We can do this. We will do this.”
Oklahoma’s leaders said they are hoping to reach 3,000,000 doses administered by Memorial Day.
“This is a feasible goal, but it won’t be easy,” Reed said.
This goal will take more persuasion for some.
“If you believe you should get it, get it, if you don’t then don’t,” Arnold said.
However, it won’t take much for others.
“I’d like to not have masks,” McQueen said. “We’ve got to protect each other before we cannot have masks.”
The state said they still have 500,000 doses in reserve in case demand ramps up. As of right now, 80 percent of the at-risk population, that being age 65 or older, has gotten at least one dose. Tuesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt officially ended Oklahoma’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. He said Oklahoma’s seven-day average of new cases is down 94 percent from the state’s peak.