Tulsan Saralee Hains had a positive experience receiving the COVID-19 vaccine last week.
“Ten minutes at the most,” she said. “It’s so organized and just easy; it’s great.”
Hains visited a free vaccination clinic hosted by the Tulsa Health Department at Owasso High School on Friday. She was among around 1,000 residents to get inoculated inside the school’s indoor athletics facility.
Hains — who qualified for eligibility as part of the state’s Phase 2 vaccine distribution plan, which includes health care workers, first responders and residents over the age of 65 — said she showed up to stay proactive amid the pandemic.
“I need to protect myself and others around me, that’s the most important thing,” she said. “I just feel great, I’m glad that I have it and I’ll be returning to get the second dose.”
The longtime Tulsa resident made an appointment on the Oklahoma Vaccine Portal at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov, and waited Photosonly a few days before getting the greenlight from the state to proceed with her vaccine.
Joe Bares, a local soccer coach, was another recipient of the Moderna vaccine distributed in Owasso on Friday, and echoed Hains’ sentiment in taking measures to stay ahead of the coronavirus before it spreads further.
“I had three teams in the fall, I interact with kids,” Bares said. “I don’t want to give it (COVID-19) to them, I don’t want them or their families to get sick; it’s protecting our fellow citizens.”
Owasso Public Schools partnered with THD to host the inaugural clinic, which also provided the vaccine to teachers who are over the age of 65 along with nursing staff. Judy Farrell, who works in the district’s Child Nutrition Department, was an early recipient of the injection.
“I deal with the children … so it’s important for me to protect myself and also protect them,” Farrell said. “I come down here to Ram Academy, we work in the cafeteria, we serve the kids’ lunches here, so I just got to keep myself safe for them.”
Friday’s clinic comes just a month after OPS reported a slight uptick in virtual enrollment numbers for the second semester following the announcement of OHS Live, a new distance learning option for high schoolers.
Kerwin Koerner, assistant superintendent of district services, said he and his staff were excited to see the clinic come to OHS as a means to help curtail coronavirus cases and quarantine numbers across the district.
“That’s one more step into us continuing to be able to keep schools open, is getting our staff vaccinated, if that’s their choice,” Koerner said. “We want to be a good partner in helping all of our community.”
Leanne Stephens, marketing and communications director for THD, added, “The Tulsa Health Department is grateful to the Owasso Public School system, a longtime community partner, for the use of their facility,” Stephens said. “They graciously permitted us to use their facility when our current site was unavailable.”
For FAQs regarding scheduling a vaccine appointment, visit oklahoma.gov/covid19/vaccine-information/vaccine-faqs.html.