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FEMA's vaccination efforts fall short at TCC pod

Posted at 8:52 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 10:45:36-04

TULSA, Okla. — COVID-19 vaccinations continue at the Community Vaccination Center set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Tulsa Community College's northeast campus but not at the rate expected.

FEMA partnered with various city and state agencies to help increase vaccination efforts. Leaders said TCC's northeast campus was chosen as a vaccination site because it's an accessible location to many people, but in particular to underserved communities.

READ MORE: TCC northeast campus transforms into federal vaccination clinic

FEMA is located in Tulsa for eight weeks. The TCC site has the capacity to administer about 3,000 shots a day for six days each week. In eight weeks, that would be 144,000 people vaccinated. However, the progress so far does not reflect those numbers.

In just one week, FEMA administered only 765 vaccines as of Tuesday.

“We’re not maxed out at this location, but I don’t know that that was actually anticipated to be maxed out. It’s just that it’s the top number that we could see on a daily basis,” said Alicia Etgen, manager of the emergency preparedness and response program with the Tulsa Health Department.

READ MORE: White House partners with the State of Oklahoma to establish new Community Vaccination Center in Tulsa

Etgen said THD has a breakdown of the percentage of Tulsans vaccinated in all of the zip codes in Tulsa County.

"We’re able to compare numbers from week to week on how many individuals within these zip codes are seeing an uptick on vaccine. Our goal is to continue to move that upward,” she said.

Wednesday, a group of student volunteers known as FEMA corps was scheduled to go knocking on doors across the community to spread the word and get more people to come to get their shots, but they didn't do that because of the threat of weather.

"Getting the community of Tulsa vaccinated, that’s our main goal," Anthony Valdez, spokesman for FEMA said. "And so as long as we’re vaccinating, you know, if we get one shot a day, or if we get a hundred shots a day, as long as we’re putting shots on arms, that’s what’s important to us, not so much the numbers."

Three other locations are also offering Pfizer vaccines through FEMA:

  • THD's Sand Springs Center
  • North Regional Health and Wellness Center
  • The health center at 315 South Utica.

If you add those sites to the total vaccinated, it goes from 765 to 1,300.

The vaccine is available at no cost. Anyone 16+ can register through the state’s Vaccine Scheduler Portal. Vaccine appointments are also available through many other local pandemic providers across the state. You can ask your personal healthcare provider about the vaccine, or you can use the federal vaccine locator to check for appointments at local pharmacies.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

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