Friday, December 4, 2020

Health Department Discusses Vaccine Phases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced it will begin a phased plan for distributing the fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine as early as Dec. 11, officials said at a press conference Thursday.

Pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer are anticipating emergency use authorizations (EUA) to be issued by the Food and Drug Administration for their vaccines in a matter of days and they expect to ship millions of doses around the country as soon as they get the green light.

Dr. Lance T. Frye, the Sooner State’s commissioner of health, said the first phase of vaccine recipients will include health-care workers, long-term care patients and staff and public health-care workers and staff. He said the doses may arrive by Dec. 11, but it looks more likely that Dec. 13-14 will be a better target date.

Frye said vaccines for the general public will be available in the first part of 2021 and the Department of Health will issue guidance on additional vaccination phases. He also said the vaccine will require two injections, not one.

“This won’t happen overnight,” Frye said. “We are asking for your patience and understanding and we want to assure all Oklahomans that they will have access to this vaccine as soon as possible.”

On Friday the OSDH reported 1,881 positive COVID-19 cases in Sequoyah County. 1,685 of those cases are listed as recovered. There are currently 195 active cases in the county. The OSDH is reporting 14 deaths countywide but Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director Steve Rutherford reported on Friday that the total number of deaths is actually 20 but not all have been added to the official total.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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