The Tulsa County COVID-19 vaccination effort is shifting into a higher gear.
The city is set to become home to a distribution center with the capacity to administer at least 6,000 shots a day, officials announced last week.
That’s more like it.
Frankly, whether it was an issue of vaccine supply or processing, the state’s efforts to vaccinate at-risk Oklahomans against the potentially deadly disease has had a bottleneck in Tulsa.
The evidence was obvious: Tulsans were travelling far and wide to get vaccinations in other cities. We know locals who went to McAlester, Claremore, Adair and Lawton for their first dose.
Using federal and state assets and local leadership, the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency is stepping up to help move the process much faster — more than 6,000 doses a day.
About half a dozen sites are under consideration for the megapoint of delivery location.
Processing 6,000 or more people in a day will take some space, and it will certainly require some patience on the part of those getting the vaccine, but the reports we’re get so far is that the local vaccination efforts have been handled professionally and safely (for those lucky enough to get an appointment).
The 6,000+ doses a day are part of President Joe Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.
A second megaclinic in Oklahoma City and a third slightly smaller facility are planned for the state.
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.
The first vaccination is not the end of the process, although it’s the beginning of the end. Those who are vaccinated still need to wear masks when they go into enclosed public places (including the vaccination clinic) and they need to maintain a proper distance from others. They need to wash their hands frequently and show up when it’s time for their second vaccination.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been frustrating and isolating, and we all want it end. That day seems closer now than just a few days ago.