OKLAHOMA CITY -- Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed issued a statement Wednesday regarding Oklahoma's vaccine distribution response to severe winter weather storms:
"While the timing of this inclement winter weather is frustrating for widespread vaccine distribution efforts across the country, we want to reassure Oklahomans that our team is prepared to face this challenge head on. We are doing everything in our power to avoid large-scale waste during this time and to continue serving as many Oklahomans as possible," said Reed.
As of Wednesday morning, Feb. 17, OSDH did not expect overall supply to be impacted by the weather, but timelines for distribution may be delayed multiple days.
Starting next week, an additional 25 percent of supply from Pfizer is expected.
This is on top of the already anticipated 20 percent increase the state was expecting to see.
The vaccine supply is estimated to arrive in the state early- to mid-next week.
This will make for a total anticipated 137,000 doses next week.
This includes both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine and accounts for both prime and boost doses.
Due to widespread cancellation of vaccine clinics this week, OSDH is planning to add clinics that will focus on vaccinating the 65 and over group, particularly those in need of their boost doses.
If the weather allows, these focused clinics are slated to begin this weekend, with appointments opening up through the portal throughout Thursday, Feb. 18.
"We are also taking precautions to prevent any vaccine waste in the face of potential power outages and appointment cancellations. Our vaccine is managed through a combination of temperature monitoring systems and back-up generators. In situations of power outages, where a backup generator is not available, vaccine is quickly moved to a secondary site," said Reed. "Additionally, OSDH is working closely with OEM to monitor locations and providers that have vaccine doses across the state.
Officials said that for the most part, any time-limited interruptions should not create a waste problem, but we continue to stay in touch with our local health departments and pandemic providers to ensure we are aware of any issues with vaccine temperatures.
Should a temperature excursion occur that results in decreased shelf life of the vaccine, we will prioritize that vaccine for rapid administration in upcoming clinics."
OSDH will provide more information as it becomes available throughout the week.