Vaccines

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A coronavirus vaccination site in Tulsa operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with state and local officials and the Oklahoma National Guard will provide vaccinations for all eligible, from any state, a FEMA official said Tuesday.

“The goal here is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, wherever they come from,” said FEMA Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Robinson.

Logan County Health Department

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Thursday it was investigating an alleged incident in Logan County where a trans woman was denied a COVID-19 vaccine.

Advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma tweeted, "Hey [OSDH] why is Logan Co Health Department turning away a trans woman trying to get a vaccine and telling us to take it up with the state?"

Oklahoma National Guard

Public health experts and state officials said Tuesday they hope the news of the federally recommended pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine increases the public's confidence in the safety of the vaccines, given the low incidence rate of the possible adverse side effect of blood clots and the rapid response from regulators.

Johnson & Johnson

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday asked all vaccine sites across the state to immediately stop giving doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended pausing use of the single-dose vaccine while an investigation is conducted into reports of apparently rare, potentially dangerous blood clots.

Tulsa Community College

The White House announced Friday that the Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus has been chosen to host a federally supported COVID-19 vaccination site in partnership with state and local agencies.

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will lend support to the vaccination site, in partnership with the Tulsa Health Department, Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Oklahoma National Guard and state and local partners," the White House said in a news release.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With the Oklahoma State Department of Health announcing Wednesday that non-Oklahomans are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the state system, the Tulsa Health Department said Thursday they're up to the job.

"We are happy to be administering the vaccine, really, to anybody who wants it, whether they are Oklahoma residents or those that are residents of another state but for some reason are in Oklahoma," said Ellen Niemitalo, THD clinical services manager.

"We're just excited to be able to administer the vaccine to anyone who is wanting it," she said.

Pool photo by Mike Simons / Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma will begin providing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents of any state as Oklahoma’s vaccine supplies and vaccinations administered increased, deputy state Health Commissioner Keith Reed said Wednesday.

Until now, Oklahoma had limited vaccinations to only its 4 million residents.

Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Oklahoma has received more than 2.9 million vaccine doses and administered more than 2.1 million vaccinations. So, residents of any state will become eligible for vaccination in Oklahoma starting Thursday.

Ad Council / COVID Collaborative

A new national PSA campaign is targeting communities like Republicans and white evangelicals, who have lower confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. OU Health chief of infectious diseases Dr. Douglas Drevets spoke with Public Radio Tulsa's Chris Polansky about the "It's Up To You" campaign.

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PUBLIC RADIO TULSA: I was hoping you could start by just telling me a little bit about the campaign and what makes it important for Oklahoma.

Community Health Connection

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced just under $64 million in funding will be divided and awarded to 21 community health centers in Oklahoma as part of President Biden and congressional Democrats' American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief package.

The Tulsa Health Department announced Wednesday that individuals seeking to be vaccinated against COVID-19 now have three additional locations to choose from.

The department's James O. Goodwin Health Center, Central Regional Health Center and North Regional Health and Wellness Center are all now taking appointments via the state's vaccinate.oklahoma.gov portal, with vaccinations beginning there on Monday.

Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

While Oklahoma appears to be trending well in terms of COVID-19 infection and vaccination rates, public health experts and officials are warning that things could change without vigilance.

"Listen, everyone -- the pandemic is not over yet," said Dr. Aaron Wendelboe, an epidemiologist and professor at the OU Health Sciences Center who formerly served as Oklahoma's state epidemiologist, on a Tuesday press briefing held virtually by the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition. "We have not dropped to levels of transmission that are sustainable, that we can control."

File photo

Around one in three Oklahomans has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and while that’s good news, blood donations have dropped off as more and more people get the shots.

Oklahoma Blood Institute President and CEO Dr. John Armitage said that hasn’t changed the donation process. It still comes down to the first question asked to all donors: Are you feeling healthy and well today?

Courtesy

With COVID-19 vaccinations now available to all Oklahomans 16 and older, Gov. Kevin Stitt took his turn.

Stitt received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a state health department nurse Marcia Castellanos-Aymat in front of reporters Monday afternoon at the capitol after a news conference.

Polling has identified Republican men as the group least likely to get vaccinated. Stitt, who had COVID-19 in July, said he waited until more vulnerable Oklahomans were able to get vaccinated.

OU Health Physicians

With COVID-19 vaccinations now open to all Oklahomans 16 and older, public health experts say doctors will play a vital role in overcoming remaining hesitancy among patients. 

"Every survey we do, the most trusted individual is a physician or their medical provider," said Mendy Spohn, administrative director for the Oklahoma State Department of Health's District 8, which covers parts of southern Oklahoma. 

University of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several universities in Oklahoma say that for now they will not require their students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before coming back to campus in the fall.

Rutgers University in New Jersey was one of the first universities in the nation to put in place a vaccination mandate for its students when it made the announcement last week.

American Academy of Pediatrics

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health is now offering first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations on a first come, first served basis at a drive-thru clinic in Tulsa.

The clinic is Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa's Expo Square, 4145 E. 21st St. Muscogee (Creek) Nation has 4,000 doses available.

CVS Health

With eligibility expanding to the final priority group on Monday, the Tulsa Health Department encourages all county residents 16 or older to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I know everybody wants the same thing. We want [the] COVID19 pandemic to be a distant memory. The vaccine’s really our best shot to get through to the other side of this pandemic and to look forward to life as we used to know it and create life going forward," said THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

About two-thirds of Oklahoma prison workers and just under half of the inmates have opted not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the state Department of Corrections, a sign that vaccine hesitancy remains high and some facilities may not reach the immunity threshold necessary to prevent future outbreaks. 

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Starting Monday, Oklahoma is moving to the fourth and final priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

"No more screening for eligibility groups. No more need for personal contemplation about whether you are eligible or should get the vaccine. If you’re over 16 and live in Oklahoma, you’re eligible and should get vaccinated," said Deputy State Health Commissioner Keith Reed.

Social media posts making claims about COVID-19 vaccines affecting life insurance policies have been making the rounds.

They say things like policies are invalidated if you get vaccinated or they won’t pay out if you die within a year of getting vaccinated. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready has seen some posts and responded to a few himself.

"No, when you get a vaccine — the COVID-19 vaccine — it does not void your life insurance policy, or your health insurance policy for that matter, too," Mulready said.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health announced Friday any Oklahoman 18 or older is welcome at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Tulsa next weekend.

The 4,000-dose, drive-thru clinic will be March 26 and 27 at the fairgrounds’ River Spirit Expo Center. When it was announced earlier this week, eligibility was limited to Native Americans and their non-Native family members and caregivers.

Courtesy Cherokee Nation

Following in the footsteps of some other Oklahoma tribes, the Cherokee Nation announced Thursday it will now schedule vaccination appointments for anyone who wants one, regardless of their Tribal citizenship status or even what state they live in.

“Our Cherokee Nation health team was extremely successful in ensuring we reached our most vulnerable populations, including Cherokee elders and first responders, when our first COVID-19 vaccines arrived in December,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.

Food and Drug Administration

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Indian Health Service will hold a 4,000 dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Tulsa next weekend.

Shots will be given March 26 and 27 in a four-lane drive-thru at the fairgrounds’ River Spirit Expo Center.

"So, we’re taking all Native Americans 18 years and older, non-Native American family members and caregivers of the Native household," said Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health Director of Environment of Care and Emergency Management Kami Willis.

Mayor David Holt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The mayor of Oklahoma’s largest city publicly received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday and urged others in the state to do the same.

“With most Oklahomans now eligible, I want our residents to hear the message that there is no need to delay your pursuit of the vaccine any longer,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said in a statement after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to arrive at the state's prisons, but some advocates for the incarcerated say the state's rollout for that population is lacking.

Osage Nation / Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Center

The Osage Nation is among the latest Oklahoma tribes to begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults who want it, Native and non-Native alike.

"We want to ensure our Native people are vaccinated, but we have a lot of neighbors that we live side-by-side -- community members, friends, family members, coworkers that are non-Native," Osage Nation Health Services chief operations and compliance officer Laura Sawney said. "So in order to ensure that we're saturating all of our Native communities, that includes non-Natives."

Mayor G.T. Bynum

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum celebrated receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Friday morning by quoting a notable historical figure in a statement.  

"'If you wanna keep an eye on me don’t look behind you, don’t look to the sides, look straight up, because I’m right on top of ya - Oh yeeeeeaaah!' -Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, OR my immune system to COVID-19 after getting vaccinated this morning!" Bynum wrote on Facebook.  

Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families

A coalition of state health care groups and organizations on Wednesday launched a new public service messaging campaign to encourage Oklahomans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's made available to them.

"Doctors have done their part -- it's time to do ours," a narrator says in the 60-second ad from the Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families, which will be appearing on broadcast and digital platforms. The campaign is titled "United for Good – Vax For Good."

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Ellen Niemitalo, clinical services manager for the Tulsa Health Department, spoke with Public Radio Tulsa's Chris Polansky by phone on Tuesday about the department's new COVID-19 outreach initiatives to minority communities in partnership with the Oklahoma Caring Foundation / Oklahoma Caring Van.

Google Maps

The Cherokee Nation announced Tuesday it has opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals who live within their reservation boundaries, including non-Natives.

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