Oklahoma Submits Preparations For Future COVID-19 Vaccine

Oklahoma's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is now in the hands of the CDC. No vaccines have been approved by the FDA, but states nationwide are preparing for it.  

Governor Kevin Stitt's office said they submitted the plan on Friday, providing details into what a distribution will look like when a vaccine is available.

That plan is classified, but OU's Chief COVID officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said it most likely prioritizes giving the vaccine to healthcare workers first who are treating the virus.

"And then from there, it's likely that the triage or prioritization of the vaccine will go to patients who are in high risk categories," said Bratzler

The CDC hopes to have vaccine distribution centers set up by November 1, although currently the FDA has not approved any vaccines and it's not clear when one will be available.

It comes as Oklahoma is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases and the seven-day rolling average is the highest it's been so far.

"The disease is spreading throughout the state and we've seen that in the Midwestern United States," said Bratzler.

The state is also seeing record high hospitalizations.

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Bratzler said beds are available, but right now they're having a hard time finding the staff to care for all of them. He said Oklahoma has been in a nursing shortage for several years.

"Our nursing schools are trying hard, but they can't keep up with the demand for new nurses in our state," said Bratzler.

To get hospital numbers back down, Bratzler said it takes all of us to do our part to slow the spread of the virus.