State officials frustrated with lack of vaccine supply

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma continues to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. Officials say close to a quarter of a million Oklahomans have at least gotten their first shot. But many more are waiting and frustration is growing for citizens, as well as Oklahoma State Department of Health officials.

“Yeah, I’m frustrated. We are able to use all the tool 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.”

Reed is talking about the lack of vaccine supply they are receiving from the federal government. Right now, officials say the state gets between 80,000 and 90,000 doses a week. They say that’s not enough; if they had more, they could use pandemic providers like pharmacies to get the shots done quicker.

“Yeah we could definitely do that if we had more supply,” said Reed.

There are reports of increased supplies going out after the Biden Administration takes charge tomorrow, but state health officials have not confirmed any changes to current plans.

“If it’s going to remain a population based allocation, like they have been using, I don’t immediately anticipate a large increase in the supply,” said Reed.

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

“I don’t want to create a situation where 65-plus is competing with an even larger group to try to get their vaccines. We are trying to do this at a reasonable pace,” said Reed.

Reed does say they won’t wait until all people 65 and older have gotten vaccinated though. As for new vaccines coming online, like the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, Reed says maybe in February.

“ I cannot even express how much I would love to have a single dose vaccine right now for us logistically and for Oklahomans as well,” said Reed.

Although also in Tier Two, Reed says there is no firm date as to when teachers under 65 will be able to start getting vaccinated.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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