900 people in Wagoner County got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.
County health departments outside Tulsa are taking appointments for people 65 and older and in the eight counties east and north of Tulsa, part of health district four, this week 3,600 people will get the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Washington and Wagoner Counties resulted in 1,800 people getting the first dose Tuesday. State Health District Four organized the effort, which had 150 people an hour getting the vaccine at each site. Clinics opened for one day only in a church in Coweta, and at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
“We had 3,600 available appointments in District Four and we filled all of those in two hours,” said Jessica Milberger, the Public Information for the region.
The appointments, booked last week, were available to anyone 65 and over. Most county health departments outside suburban areas are now vaccinated that age group in Phase Two of the state priority list. Don Dennis waited in line to get vaccine for himself and his wife.
“I am 85 years old, and I guess we’re at the age when we’re vulnerable," Dennis said. Dennis said he had several church friends die from COVID-19.
“I think this is the only way besides washing your hands and wearing a mask, this is the number one way to control this and maybe set it back on its heels," Paul Rodriguez, 72, said.
For now, there is more vaccine than available appointments, and far more demand than capacity to deliver the doses. County health departments are setting vaccination clinic appointments week by week, after they learn their expected allotment of doses.
Though District Four has large clinics planned Thursday in Delaware and Ottawa Counties, all of the appointments are taken. Appointment times and locations for next week will be posted first to the Facebook pages for the respective County Health Departments.
“Anytime we open up appointments, the first place we’ll post that is to our Facebook page. That’s the fastest way for use to get information out to the community,” said Milberger.
Thursday, the state plans to launch a website to coordinate appointment scheduling for all counties, but until that system is operational, each county has devised their own method for scheduling. An online scheduling system created by the Centers for Disease Control was rejected by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, according to Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed.