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State vaccination rate increases as COVID cases rise

Posted at 11:07 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 00:07:15-04

TULSA, Okla. — Doctors are calling on Oklahomans to get vaccinated as COVID cases continue to rise.

With COVID numbers going up, so is the amount of vaccines going into the arms of Oklahomans.

The increase of cases made one local nurse rethink her decision about not getting the vaccine.

“When the vaccination came out initially I was very skeptical," said Grace Zieba, an emergency room nurse at INTEGRIS Grove Hospital.

Zieba initially decided to not get the COVID vaccine because she said there are too many unknowns about it.

“I just kept thinking to myself, I’m young and I’m healthy," Zieba said. "And that was kind of my stance even as far, if I got COVID I felt like it wasn’t going to affect me as much as it has been affecting the patients I have been caring for.”

However, her stance on the vaccine recently changed after seeing the increase of patients coming into the hospital sick with COVID.

“The patients that I’ve cared for that are my age and sometimes even younger, just as healthy as I am, sometimes healthier than I am, are coming in and we’ve had some that we’ve lost and we’ve had some that covid has literally made them fight for their lives," Zieba said.

And now, after consulting with doctors she's changed her initial decision.

“I’ve made the decision that it’s time, it’s time to be vaccinated," Zieba said. "There are hundreds of people around me every day that have been vaccinated and they’re stronger because of it.”

Zieba isn’t the only one choosing to get vaccinated amid the spread of the Delta variant.

The Oklahoma State Dept. of Health reports an increase in vaccines for the month of July.

According to data from OSDH, the daily average of initial doses increased 157 percent from July 4 to July 10. That same week saw an 86 percent increase in the daily average of all doses administered.

OSDH data from July 18 through July 24 shows a 36 percent increase in the daily average of initial doses and a 26 percent increase in the daily average of all doses.

For Tulsa County, the Tulsa Health Dept. said there was a 10 percent increase in vaccinations during the month of July. THD said the week of the July 18 through July 24 saw the biggest weekly uptick with a 32 percent increase in vaccinations.

These numbers are encouraging as hospitals once again become overwhelmed with patients.

“It is very stressful right now in our hospitals," said Lawanna Halstead, vice president of quality and clinical initiatives for the Oklahoma Hospital Association. "And so we do respectfully ask all the citizens to receive the vaccination so that we can start to put a lid on this.”

During an update from the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition on Tuesday, doctors discussed the possibility of a vaccine booster shot. While they said they haven’t been given information about if one will be recommended, they do expect it to happen. They hope to know more about it soon.

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