Some Oklahomans could receive a COVID-19 vaccine within the next two weeks, but likely not as many people as originally expected. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Pfizer is cutting the projected number of delivered vaccines in half, due to supply chain issues.
Those first to get vaccinated in Oklahoma will be healthcare workers and people living in long-term care facilities. The general public will likely have access to the vaccine by spring or summer.
The moment a COVID-19 vaccine is available to Dr. Anuj Malik, he will be rolling up his sleeve to get the shot.
"The benefit far outweighs the risk,” Dr. Anuj Malik said.
Dr. Malik is the Director of Infection Prevention at Ascension St. John. He said he based his decision to get the vaccine on the analysis and studies that have been done so far. He is confident the vaccine is safe and compares the risk to other everyday things people do.
"If you can fly on a plane, you can get this vaccine. Because the risk is, there is a risk when you get on a plane. There's a risk when you get into your car to drive to work,” Dr. Malik said.
The Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy in Oklahoma City said the fact that nurses will be among the first people to get the vaccine has been well-received, adding many feel the vaccine is important for them to continue caring for COVID patients.
She said some in the nursing community have expressed they do not plan to get it.
"I think we're gonna learn a lot across the course of that vaccine, but I would say from the majority's perspective is we're excited to have that opportunity afforded to us and to our co-workers,” Chief Nursing Officer Karyl James said during a virtual news conference Thursday.
Dr. Malik said he also knows of colleagues who are skeptical.
"Most of the physicians I've talked to are gonna get it the first day it's available and a lot of the nurses as well. There are some people who are skeptical. But I think, personally I think they just need verification and reassurance,” Dr. Malik said.
Health experts said it's important for people who get the vaccine to not let their guards down in between their first and second doses, because they aren't fully immunized until they have both shots.
Ascension St. John said it will not be requiring employees to get the vaccine but will be highly recommending it.