OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Department of Health held a virtual news conference on Monday to go over the next steps in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye took questions on the beginning of Phase 2 of vaccine distribution, which would begin getting shots to larger groups of healthcare workers and first responders, people 65 and older and school employees in Oklahoma.
School teachers and staff were moved up into Phase 2 by order of Gov. Kevin Stitt shortly after vaccinations began in the state in an effort to get students back into classrooms.
State health leaders said that the initiation of Phase 2 does not mean Phase 1 is over with, but acknowledge that some parts of the state are rolling out the vaccine faster than others.
The Phase 2 rollout is not a full rollout of that tier of vaccine recipients. Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said because of limited quantities of the vaccine, only first responders, health care workers, and those who are 65 and older qualify.
Left out of the initial Phase 2 rollout are teachers younger than 65 and adults younger than 65 who have comorbidities -- a long term illness that can become further complicated by a COVID infection.
People who are primary caregivers to a family member 65 or older are included in Phase 2 as part of the definitions of “other healthcare workers.”
Frye also announced the expected launch of a new app to help Oklahomans determine their eligibility for the vaccine, and help them to make an appointment to be vaccinated.
The state’s Vaccine Scheduler Portal opened at 8 a.m. for eligible Oklahomans.
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