Tulsa will be home to a mega COVID-19 vaccine distribution center with the capacity to administer at least 6,000 shots a day, officials announced Thursday.
“We don’t have a time frame of when it will actually start,” said Bruce Dart, executive director of Tulsa Health Department. “We have a meeting Monday, and hopefully at that time the timetable will be solidified on that day.”
Joe Kralicek, executive director of the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency, said the POD, or point of distribution, is being established in partnership with the state and federal governments.
“This will be primarily federal and state assets being run through in conjunction with the locals,” Kralicek said. “This is just the same way we run every disaster … locals will maintain control.”
The doses administered at the mega POD will be in addition to the weekly allotments provided to Tulsa County by the state of Oklahoma.
Kralicek said TAEMA has been tasked with identifying a site for the mega POD and that about half a dozen are under consideration.
“What is being defined as a mega clinic is the ability to issue 6,000 or greater vaccines a day, so we are talking over a large area,” Kralicek said. “We need either a very large indoor facility to be able to facilitate that, or we need a large outdoor paved area like a parking lot.
“It is going to have to be a tremendous parking lot, in many cases probably bigger than what you would see at a Walmart Supercenter, for example.”
Mark Andrus, CEO and president of Expo Square, said he has not been contacted about placing the mega POD at the fairgrounds.
Kralicek said the mega PODs are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to administer 100 million vaccines in 100 days.
“The state of Oklahoma is going to be receiving three such clinics — two mega clinics and one medium-size clinic,” Kralicek said.
The intent is to have the second mega POD in Oklahoma City, Kralicek said. A third, medium-size POD that could administer at least 1,000 vaccines is also planned.
As of Wednesday, more than 400,000 first doses of the COVID vaccine had been administered in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
That is about 12% of Oklahomans who are older than 16.
Another roughly 22,000 Oklahomans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine through their tribes.
More than 77,100 vaccine doses have been administered in Tulsa County as of Feb. 2, Dart said. The county is scheduled to receive another 15,750 doses from the state next week.
More guidance for Oklahomans signing up through the state COVID-19 vaccine portal during Phase 2