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Tulsa Health Department Launching Text Message Campaign In Attempt To Boost Vaccination Rate

Tulsa Health Department
A Feb. 23, 2021, Tulsa Health Department COVID-19 vaccination event.

The Tulsa Health Department announced Monday a new text message campaign targeting Tulsa County residents who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Text message reminders are proven effective for increasing vaccination uptake, and we are looking for creative ways to generate awareness and reach herd immunity,” THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said in a statement. “We expect that for those who are open to getting vaccinated but haven’t followed through, these types of reminders will be an effective nudge toward vaccination."

The department said the campaign will consist of four messages sent over a period of six weeks, targeting ZIP codes in Tulsa County with lower-than-average vaccination rates. 

“These messages are not a scam,” Dart said. “THD will never ask for personal information or money. The text messages are intended to help recipients schedule their first dose or make them aware of walk-in opportunities near them."

THD said the messages will be sent by actual human representatives, will identify themselves as coming from the department and be from either 918 or 405 area codes. Recipients can opt out at any time, or engage the representative with questions in either English or Spanish.

THD said that as of May 20, 45.8% of Tulsa County residents ages 18 and up have been fully vaccinated according to federal Centers for Disease Control. CDC data on Tuesday showed that just 39.5% of Oklahomans 18 and up were fully vaccinated, with the state ranking 39th nationally. The White House said Tuesday morning that 50% of American adults were expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of the day.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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