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Distribution of Moderna COVID Vaccine Underway in Oklahoma


Doses of the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved are now being distributed across Oklahoma.

The state received 66,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday. It doesn’t need to be kept nearly as cold during shipping as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that arrived last week, and Moderna says it will remain stable at standard refrigerator temperatures up to 30 days.

Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said that changes distribution plans a little bit.

"We’re going to send the Moderna vaccine pretty much all across the state to our county health department sites so that they can kind of serve as that hub and spoke for pushing Moderna out. You’re probably looking at in excess of 30 sites that are going to receive Moderna direct," Reed said.

The state received its first shipment of almost 40,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week, and thousands of doses have already been given to frontline health care workers across Oklahoma, according to the state health department.

Both vaccines are more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. Stilwell-based infectious disease specialist Dr. Gitanjali Pai said both are two-dose, "prime and boost" vaccines to achieve that level of efficacy.

"So, after the first dose, we get some degree — which is a suboptimal degree — of immunity within a couple of weeks, and then after the second dose, we get optimum immunity anywhere from seven to 14 days after the second dose," Pai said.

The state has now received more than 106,000 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The phase one priority group that includes doctors and nurses caring for COVID patients is about 158,000 people.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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