Rogers County Couple Travels 420 Miles For COVID-19 Vaccine

Monday, January 18th 2021, 5:15 pm


A couple in Rogers County thought they were lucky to get a next-day vaccination appointment in nearby Wagoner County. However, the appointment they set for 45 miles away was confirmed through the portal in Cimarron County, 420 miles away.

They believe a glitch in the state's vaccine portal changed their appointment from Coweta to Boise City.

"My first response was - where's Boise City?" said Gary Brown.

He and his wife Linda had been eager to get the vaccine. They've had friends with COVID-19, and their daughter, who works in long term care, knows the toll of the pandemic. She encouraged them to go, instead of waiting and taking a chance on getting an appointment closer to home.

"All that day and afternoon, we're bantering back and forth. Do we do it? It's such a long trip," said Brown. They decided to go.

They drove it last Friday and made it to the appointment, despite a dust storm that came about the same time as an emergency alert about it on their phone, and despite waves of tumbleweeds blowing across the highway. It was their first trip through the panhandle.

"They were so courteous, and polite, a great experience," said Brown.

They both got the vaccine, and despite 13 hours of driving, were grateful to get it. They worry that other seniors might not be so fortunate to travel, or successfully navigate the state portal that many people find confusing.

"The process itself is very overwhelming, not just for my parents, but for so many other seniors," said their daughter, Heather Smoot.