OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Registration began Wednesday in Oklahoma for residents to be notified when they are eligible for a coronavirus vaccination, according to the State Health Department, which later reported a one-day record increase in deaths due to COVID-19.
The department's registration portal, https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov, had about 125,000 visits and more than 79,000 registrations as of Wednesday afternoon, according to deputy health commissioner Keith Reed.
Those registered will be notified by email when an appointment is available, Reed said. The availability of appointments depends on the vaccine supply in each county, which changes weekly, health officials have said.
“Our appointments are limited by supply and that's just going to be a core tenant moving forward. We can't enter appointments into this system if we don't have the (vaccine) to support them,” Reed said.
Oklahoma learns each Tuesday how many vaccine doses it will receive for the following week, according to Reed, who said the state expects about 38,000 doses next week.
Residents will enter personal information to determine when they are eligible for vaccinations based on the state's distribution plan that began Dec. 14 with front-line health care workers being inoculated.
The state has received nearly 175,000 doses of vaccine thus far and innoculated just more than 50,000 people as part of the first phase of the distribution plan.
Beginning Thursday, Oklahoma residents 65 and older, health care workers and first responders will be able to schedule appointments on the site as part of phase 2 of the program.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health later reported 3,305 additional cases of the virus and 62 more deaths due to COVID-19, eight more than the previous daily high of 54 on Dec. 2. Late Tuesday, the department reported a one-day record 1,994 hospitalizations.
There have now been 311,573 total virus cases and 2,633 deaths due to the illness caused by virus since the pandemic began in March.
Oklahoma ranked sixth in the U.S. in new cases per capita during the past 14 days on Wednesday, with 1,081.6 cases per 100,000 residents, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose from 3,375.5 per day on Dec. 22 to 3,498 Tuesday, while the average positivity rate in the state increased from 18.6% to 20.7% and the average number of deaths per day was up from 22 to 23.7 per day, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
Also Wednesday, Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart said people 65 and older in the county, the state's second-most populous, can beginning signing up for the virus vaccine by using state health agency's portal. Vaccinations will begin Monday, Dart said.
The announcement in Tulsa comes one day after the health department in Oklahoma’s most populous county, Oklahoma County, said it will begin providing coronavirus vaccinations to residents who are 65 and older on Thursday.