Health and safety experts gave an update on the COVID-19 vaccine situation in Grady County on Monday at the Grady County Commissioners meeting.
Dale Thompson with Grady County Emergency Management said the numbers are on the decline—including fatalities and hospitalizations—about 50% from one month ago.
Thompson said this may be a result of continued vaccinations and residents taking precautions.
Moreover, the federal government is expected to allocate an additional 25% of vaccines for Oklahoma in the next week, he said.
On Monday, the state began a part of Phase 2 in the vaccination process that opens eligibility for pre-kindergarten through high school senior teachers and sports staff. This phrase also includes people with comorbities such as diabetes, COPD and asthma, he said.
The Grady County vaccine POD has been taking place on Fridays at Epworth Untied Methodist Church in Chickasha, where 900 to 1,000 doses have been administered weekly.
“At least we are making headway,” Thomspon said.
Kean Spellman, Grady Memorial Hospital CEO, said physicians have been reaching out to some of their most vulnerable patients, mostly over the age of 65, to ensure they are vaccinated. They have been distributing about 200 vaccines per week to this population.
Spellman said people do not need to call the hospital to make an appointment but those who have received a call do need to call back.
Patients not calling back has created a problem where shots are available but appointments have not been confirmed.
The hospital has people scheduled “on call” for these cases so that vaccines do not go to waste, Spellman said.
Spellman said the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, which is a single-dose vaccine, could be available by the end of March 2021.
“I think that will be a big game changer,” Spellman said.
He added there can be a lot of confusion with the vaccines that require two doses.
“So many people that we give paperwork to, they don’t know which version of the vaccine they received,” he said.
The Johnson&Johnson vaccine also has the advantage of not having the same temperature sensitivities as the Pfizer vaccine.
However, Spellman emphasized that all the vaccines that are available are effective against the virus variants.
“People need to hear that.”
He said the information coming out about exceptions is not helpful.
“That’s a bunch of nonsense. These vaccines work. For people to be worried about something that might happen, which we’ve already proven doesn’t happen, it just causes that same hesitancy,” he said.
Those who need to make an appointment are encouraged to register online at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov.