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There is one positive trend that can help boost COVID-19 outlook in Oklahoma. An uptick in vaccinations
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There is one positive trend that can help boost COVID-19 outlook in Oklahoma. An uptick in vaccinations

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Federal data show that nearly 2.08 million Oklahomans — 52.6% — have had at least one dose and that more than 1.705 million — 43.1% — are fully vaccinated.

Among so many negative COVID-19 metrics in Oklahoma, there is at least one positive trend — and it can help improve all the others.

The delta variant’s out-of-control spread across the state has coincided with a rise in vaccinations, with Oklahoma now ranked No. 36 in the country for percentage of population with at least one dose, according to the latest federal data.

After a swift start in the winter, the state rapidly fell from among the best to worst in COVID-19 vaccine uptake. This week the state marched up to the No. 36 spot after hovering at No. 39 or lower since July.

Keith Reed, Oklahoma State Department of Health deputy commissioner, on Thursday highlighted the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, now labeled with the brand name Comirnaty. He urged unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We have the tools to end the pandemic, and now we have even more confirmation that they work,” Reed said. “Please, get your vaccine today.”

Federal data show that nearly 2,080,000 Oklahomans — 52.6% — have had at least one dose and that more than 1,705,000 — 43.1% — are fully vaccinated.

Reed said the state hopes the FDA’s full approval of the first of three vaccines used in the country further underscores the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

More than 90% of the people hospitalized with COVID in the state since July 1 have been unvaccinated, which is about when the delta variant-fueled surge began here.

“We’re very excited about this news and hope it will help encourage greater vaccine uptake during this critical time,” Reed said. “We know that many people preferred to wait until the vaccine received full FDA approval prior to getting vaccinated.”

The recent upward march isn’t apparent yet in ranking states for percent of population that is fully vaccinated. Oklahoma moved to No. 40 last week, up only a spot since late July.

The state reported 5,059 prime doses administered per day for the week of Aug. 17-23, the fourth consecutive week above 5,000. Oklahoma hadn’t experienced that rate since mid-April.

Tulsa County — at 67.6% — is one of six counties that has more than 60% of its residents with at least one vaccine dose, according to state data.

The other counties are Oklahoma (71.5%), Canadian (63.2%), Caddo (68.8%), Comanche (62.0%) and Noble (67.1%). Thirteen counties remain under 40%.

Featured video: ICU nurse whose dad died of COVID urges fellow Oklahomans to think of health care staff

"We're already short on nurses, and now several ... are really seriously thinking about retiring early, finding another area of nursing or finding a new career altogether," says Jill McSparrin of Integris.

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Staff Writer

I am a general assignment reporter who predominately writes about public health, public safety and justice reform. I'm in journalism to help make this community, state, country and, ultimately, world a better place.

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