TULSA, Okla. — On Sunday night the State of Oklahoma will notify more than one million people that starting Monday, they can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments on the state’s website, and also can now get vaccinated at select Walmart and Sam’s Club locations.
People younger than 65 with comorbidities and anyone working as a teacher or school support staffer can get an appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Feb. 22.
That group of people is classified as the rest of Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine plan because for more than a month, the state only opened up vaccination appointments to those 65 and older.
There was a fear that if the state opened up all of Phase 2 recipients to get appointments, elderly people, some of them without much technology experience, would be shut out of the system because younger more tech-savvy Oklahomans would gobble up all of the appointments.
Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed told FOX23 that over the past few weeks that significant progress has been made in vaccinating the state’s older and elderly adults who have seen the highest number of deaths linked to COVID-19.
While not all of those 65 and older who want a vaccine have at least started their first dose, such a large portion of that demographic has started to be vaccinated that Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced earlier this month that they will open up appointments to the rest of phase 2.
“We are not shutting out our seniors,” Reed said.
“Just because we are adding more groups to the eligibility list, that doesn’t mean we’re done with the elderly, first responders, and medical personnel.”
Anyone over 65 who does not have an email address or even internet access can call 211 and register over the phone, Reed said.
From there, 211 will send that information to the local health department closest to the caller, and a vaccination appointment will be scheduled from there.
FOX23 News is told that local health departments have the ability to set aside a few appointments for the elderly and others who call to get an appointment instead of finding one on the state’s scheduling portal.
Because there are so many teachers, school support staffers, and Oklahomans under 65 with comorbidities, this next round of newly eligible people is estimated to be over one million people who can get the vaccine now.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health is warning that it will take weeks if not a couple of months before the next phase of people will be allowed to book appointments.
The state is getting around 110,000 doses a week from the federal government vaccine distribution process.
Next week, Pfizer will increase its number of doses by 25% which will filter down to a new weekly total of about 130,000 doses coming into the state each week.