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State: Information changed regarding vaccine rollout

By Vicky O. Misa | Shawnee News-Star | USA Today Network
The Shawnee News-Star
City of Shawnee Emergency Management Director Rachelle Erickson, at right, explains how the COVID-19 vaccination station at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) FireLake Arena will function as volunteers set up chairs.

According to an Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announcement released Monday, some of the information rolled out with the COVID-19 vaccination process is no longer accurate.

Oklahoma received updates Friday from Operation Warp Speed on what can now be expected for the state’s vaccine supply moving forward.

“After previous communication with Operation Warp Speed about a reserved supply of second doses for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, we learned that no such stockpile exists,” OSDH reports.

Though Operation Warp Speed (OWS) previously shared there would be a significant increase in supply provided to states in the short term, OSDH reports it received word that such an increase will not occur in the short term.

Oklahoma’s rate of incoming vaccine supply will remain largely unchanged.

As of noon Monday, the OSDH had reported nearly half a million (491,598) Oklahomans have registered through the portal to receive notifications on eligibility, so far.

According to state data, there were 13,585 vaccinated as part of Phase 1 of the rollout.

Currently in Phase 2, there are 278,003 that have received vaccinations across the state, so far.

There are 60,603 appointments on the books right now for eligible Oklahomans waiting to receive the vaccine, OSDH said.

Priority groups eligible for vaccine appointments as part of Phase 2 are healthcare workers; expanded healthcare worker groups, such as allied health fields and general outpatient health service (i.e. behavioral health, dentists); first responders; and Oklahomans aged 65 and older.

State, county, city and tribal leaders have all been working together to organize and execute distribution of the vaccine locally, between 9 a.m and 4 p.m. each Thursday by appointment only at Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) FireLake Arena.

So far, 1,200 area residents — including some from outside the county who made appointments here — have received the vaccination at the arena, City of Shawnee Emergency Management Director Rachelle Erickson said.

“Some who have come have been from other counties, like Seminole,” Erickson said, “Some drove an hour and a half to get here (for the appointment).”

And on Thursday another round of appointments for doses will be completed.

“We'll be set up and give out as many doses as we're given,” Erickson said.

Local officials are responsible for executing distribution as they get doses allotted to them. The two vaccines approved in December are Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Each requires two shots. The second dose is typically given three or four weeks after the first.

When a first dose is given, its counterpart — the booster — is to be administered a few weeks later, Pottawatomie County Emergency Manager Chad Larman said.

Inoculation doesn't have to be exactly 21 days or 28 days after the first dose; this time period can be extended if needed and will not impact efficacy, OSDH said.

Portal

Due to the large volume of individuals visiting the portal, and the resulting volume of email notifications to be sent, the system is issuing emails on a batch basis, OSDH said. Emails are sent out over a span of time in the order in which registrations occurred. As a result, some emails may be delayed. Emails should be received within 24 hours during these peak volume times, OSDH reports.

The portal does not currently allow a user to change responses after the form has been submitted. In the case that incorrect responses are submitted, a new email account must be used to create a new registration, OSDH said.

“If a user has to abandon a registration session, be advised that they will need to wait 24 hours for the system to reset before being able to use the same email address again,” the health department said.

“The same email can be used to register multiple people on the portal as long as the names and dates of birth are different,” OSDH said.

Registration

OSDH said successful registration within the portal does not guarantee an appointment.

Registering only means an appointment can be scheduled when the participant becomes (or is deemed) eligible.

There are two main emails people will receive from the system.

• A registration confirmation email. This confirms the person is registered in the system and will be notified when he or she is eligible to receive the vaccine.

• A phase confirmation email with a link to set up an appointment. This email will be sent when the eligible person can receive the vaccine and an appointment is available in the area.

OSDH said registered individuals can likely expect a confirmation email within 24-48 hours.

Appointments

Appointment availability is dependent upon vaccine supply. New appointments are added as vaccine supply allows.

Registration must be done online through the portal at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov to receive email notifications regarding vaccine appointment availability. Do not call the Pottawatomie County Health Department to make an appointment.

If Oklahomans are a part of a priority group and phase eligible to receive the vaccine, but are not able to schedule an appointment, there will be additional opportunities to do so next Thursday. Those residents will be notified of their ability to schedule appointments via email.

OSDH said it will provide updates as it receives more information from OWS.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.