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State Department of Health announces arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Oklahoma

COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 19:34:45-05

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma health officials announced when coronavirus vaccines are coming to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said he expects the FDA to approve the Pfizer vaccine Dec. 11. Frye said if that happens, the vaccine could arrive in Oklahoma on Dec. 13 or 14. They expect the Moderna vaccine to be approved shortly after. These dates could change, but the Oklahoma State Department of Health still expects approval within the next two weeks.

Frye said Oklahoma will initially receive 33,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and about 10,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

"I think it's a going to be a game-changer for us here in Oklahoma and throughout the world," he said.

The state is working on a vaccine distribution plan and how to keep the Pfizer vaccine at its extra cold temperature. OSHD said there are predetermined sites as locations to distribute. A foundation also donated 11 ultra cold facilities to house the vaccine in all of the state's districts. These locations and others will act as hubs. The vaccine will go out from there through primary care health systems and county health systems.

"It will definitely come to a specific place here in Tulsa for our region and our county," said Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department. "It will be held there and that's going to be our hub. It will function like a spoke and the vaccine will go out from that place to the various areas that need it."

OSDH said the first group to get the vaccine will include front line healthcare workers, long term care facility staff and residents and public health workers. Frye expects the vaccine will expand to the general public in early 2021. At that time, OSDH expects to have a large network of providers around the state to help distribute
the vaccine.

Once the vaccine is available, OSDH said more will arrive on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Even with help on the way, Frye is urging Oklahomans still be vigilant about preventing the spread of the virus.

"We all have to do, continue what we can do to decrease the spread," Frye said. "Because we have the highest numbers and the highest community percent positivity that we've had throughout this pandemic right now."

OSDH hosted a virtual meeting on Thursday about the arrival of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

READ MORE: Oklahoma State Department of Health releases draft of COVID-19 vaccination plan

The news conference is led by Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye and Deputy Commissioner of Community Health Services Keith Reed.

WATCH news conference below:

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