State Wrongly Claims Top Ten Status In Vaccination Administration

Dec 31, 2020

In a Wednesday afternoon press release, the state of Oklahoma boasted of being nationally ranked in the top ten for the percent of the state population which had received an initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine. “Oklahoma has a plan in place for vaccine distribution, and we are seeing the effective results of this, as we are among the Top 10 states in the nation getting our people vaccinated,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in the release.

At the time the release went out, though, Oklahoma actually ranked 18th according to the data cited from the Washington Post's vaccine tracker.

"At the time the release was drafted, Oklahoma ranked in the top 10 for percent of population vaccinations," said Zoie Hing of public relations firms Saxum, which has been contracted to handle COVID-19 communications for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. "However, the Washington Post article frequently updates and as of 12/30 at 5:30 p.m. Oklahoma now ranks 18th."

Hing said a spreadsheet provided to reporters alongside the press release was mostly prepared on Tuesday and erroneously contained outdated numbers for vaccination doses for 49 states. Only Oklahoma's number of doses had been updated with the most recent data from Wednesday.

According to data in the Post's last update, dated Wednesday at 6:44 p.m., Oklahoma now ranks 26th of 48 states reporting data.

Posts to the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the state health department touting Oklahoma's top ten status have not been deleted, though additional posts have been added noting the correction that the state ranked 18th.

According to OSDH, 29,725 doses have been administered out of 122,750 that have been received.

Locally, the Tulsa Health Department said Wednesday it is now accepting appointments for individuals in Tier 2 of the state's vaccine distribution plan.

"THD has started to administer the vaccine to some priority groups within Phase 2, such as first responders and outpatient health care workers," the department said in a release. "Individuals who fall within this category should should call the Tulsa Health Department at 918-582-9355 to schedule an appointment. The COVID-19 Call Center hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. However, the phone bank will be closed Fri, Jan 1 in observance of New Year's Day."