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Health Dept Says Distribution Plan In Place If Vaccine Arrives Next Month

For months, health departments have been preparing to distribute a vaccine once available, and Oklahomans could start to see that roll out next month.

The Tulsa Health Department expects to have its first dose in December. It hopes to have enough vaccine doses for anyone who wants one by spring.

Drug company Pfizer is one of many that has been working to get out a COVID-19 vaccine. On Monday, it said a trial of 44,000 people shows the vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.

“This is a definite step in the right direction,” said Integris Health Director of Infection Prevention Dr. David Chansolme.

Dr. Chansolme said the state has a plan in place to administer vaccines if they arrive next month, but it won’t be easy.

“It will be a public health effort unlike anything we have ever seen before,” Chansolme said.

The state health department’s tentative plan said frontline workers and people at high risk will be the first to get the vaccine. They will be followed by those like first responders, people in education, essential workers and then everyone else.

“The projected date for everyone is probably spring of 2021,” said Ellen Niemitalo with the Tulsa Health Department. She said people may be skeptical about getting the shot, which will likely be two doses spread a few weeks apart, but she encouraged people to do their research.

“We know vaccines do work to build immunity. The Pfizer announcement was a very good announcement,” Niemitalo said.

We asked people on social media if they would get a vaccine. Cynthia said, “Yes, I would…the benefit outweighs the risk.” Others like Wendy said, “Nope. Too rushed with not enough research into side effects.”

“A vaccine is our best chance to get control of the virus,” Chansolme said.

The Tulsa health department said it gets the vaccines for free from the federal government but is unsure about costs for people to get one here.

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