OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Plans to open federal pods to provide coronavirus vaccinations in Oklahoma are on hold after state health officials learned the government will not be providing vaccine for the pods, deputy state health commissioner Keith Reed said Tuesday.
A date to open the pods, announced by health officials in Tulsa last week, had not been set, Reed said, but they were presented by the federal government as a potential future option for the state that could provide up to 13,000 vaccinations per day.
“Is it frustrating? Oh absolutely... I'm not going to say I'm mad or angry, I'm just going to say I'm really frustrated with it, and definitely disappointed," Reed said.
The initial information was that the pods would include federally supplied vaccines, in addition to the vaccine shipment the state health department receives weekly, Reed said.
“We were told that the fact that there was federal allocation (of vaccine) coming... was actually pre-decisional. I can only assume that pre-decisional means that they had the option to change their minds,” Reed said.
The state expects to receive about 107,500 vaccine doses next week, in line with recent shipments, Reed said.
A total of 587,820 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, including 157,679 to people who have now received both doses of the vaccination protocol, according to Reed.
Reed said 43% of the 65 and older population in the state, those now eligible for the vaccine, have been inoculated.
The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Oklahoma has fallen below 1,000 for the first time in three months, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported late Monday.
There were 937 people hospitalized with the virus, including 286 in intensive care. The department had reported more than 1,000 hospitalizations daily since first topping the number on Nov. 3.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the seven-day rolling averages of both new cases and deaths have declined during the past two weeks.
The rolling average of deaths declined from 42.71 per day on Jan. 25 to 36.14 and the average of new cases dropped from 2,576.71 per day to 2,018.
Oklahoma was fourth in the nation in the number of new cases per capita with 764.4 per 100,000 residents, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
The state health department on Tuesday reported totals of 3,870 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and 406,064 virus cases since the pandemic began, increases of 53 deaths and 1,070 cases from Monday.