OSDH recommends keeping Tulsa community vaccination center open despite low numbers

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends keeping the community vaccination center at Tulsa Community College’s northeast campus open, but reducing the size of it so resources aren’t being wasted.

FOX23 asked OSDH officials about the low turn out at the site that can handle 3,000 per day, but it is only averaging a couple hundred people a day instead. Last week, Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart expressed concern that the site may have to close early and not be there its full eight weeks. He feared low turnout was leading to a potential “waste of resources”.

State Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said the first days of operation were very slow, but things have been ticking up.

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“That may not be a lot of people, but those people are still important to us,” Reed said.

Reed pointed to the fact that the Federal government set up its Tulsa site in a lower income and minority community as a reason those resources came to Oklahoma in the first place, and by vaccinating a few hundred here and there, they are meeting the needs of a community that has had trouble accessing the vaccine.

As the vaccine has become more available across Oklahoma, the need for mass vaccination clinics has declined dramatically.

Reed said with many minority and lower income communities having trouble getting to a single central site, there are now talks about more mobile clinics taking doses into neighborhoods and offering the vaccine directly to people where they live.

OSDH and THD are consulting with the Federal government as to how many resources are needed to meet daily demand, and how other resources can be better allocated elsewhere, possibly even in another state.