Oklahoma teachers moved up on coronavirus vaccine list

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/01/2021 12:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma school teachers have been moved to a higher priority on the list of those eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Kevin Stitt said recently.

“I've directed the state department of health to move K-12 teachers and support staff who interact with students up to phase two of our vaccine distribution plan,” Stitt said.

Stitt said the change helps accomplish his goal of returning all of the state’s schools to in-person classes in January, following the Christmas holiday break.

State health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said no one already listed for the second wave of vaccinations will be moved down to phase three.

“We know that within each school there are people that ... there are teachers that are older with comorbidities” who would already be in the second phase of vaccinations, Frye said. “In reality, a lot of these (vaccinations) are going to be running concurrently.”

The vaccination of front-line health care workers has already begun, and will be followed by vaccines for long-term care providers and residents, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and pharmacy staff who will administer the vaccine in long-term care facilities.

The second phase includes first responders, health care workers providing outpatient care to COVID-19 patients, those 65 and older, anyone with underlying conditions making them susceptible to the virus, and staff and residents of congregate settings such as prisons. 

About 166,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, which is awaiting emergency use authorization, are expected in Oklahoma by the end of the month,
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Dec. 14 and the first vaccination took place that afternoon when 31-year-old emergency room nurse Hannah White was inoculated in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials on Dec. 17 reported 248,204 total virus cases and 2,144 deaths since the pandemic began, increases of 2,975 cases and 16 more deaths from Dec. 16.

On Dec. 17, data from Johns Hopkins University showed the seven-day rolling average of new cases has risen from 2,571 per day on Dec. 2 to 3,176.5 on Dec. 16 and the average of daily deaths increased from 18.8 to 26.1.

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