Wednesday's icy conditions have led to the cancelation of all scheduled Tulsa Health Department vaccination appointments for the day.
"Due to inclement weather, the Tulsa Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Operations are CANCELLED today," the department said in a news release. "Those with appointments and those expected to return for their second dose today have been notified through email. They will receive a follow-up email with instructions regarding when their new appointment date and time will be. They do not need to reschedule through the Oklahoma Vaccine Portal."
Department spokesperson Leanne Stephens said the move will affect a combined 2,000 individuals scheduled to receive either a first or second dose of vaccine.
Reached by phone Wednesday morning, THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said no doses of the vaccine would expire, spoil or otherwise be wasted due to the cancelations.
"I know that's a concern of a lot of people and I promise everyone there will not be a dose wasted," Dart said. "We have time that we still have the ability to get vaccines in arms."
Dart said the vials are still frozen and will remain viable. He said that what happened this week at a vaccine site in Norman, where inclement weather led to the Oklahoma State Department of Health allowing officials to skip ahead in priority phases and begin administering vaccine to adults under the age of 65 with comorbidities, does not appear likely to happen in Tulsa County.
"At this juncture I don't see that happening here, but, you know, you never know," Dart said. "We've been very flexible and adaptable, I think, through the pandemic the entire time."
"When we'll move onto the next gated group within phase two is hard to tell," he said. "We have, I think, a little over 50% of our 65-and-older demographic vaccinated now at least with one dose. We'd like to get closer to 65-70% of that group vaccinated before we start to overlap with the next gated group of people with chronic conditions or comorbidities. It's probably going to take at least a couple weeks to get there, but we're definitely getting there and picking up the pace."