OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The federal COVID-19 vaccine mega pods that were announced for Oklahoma last week have been put on hold because of the absence of a separate federal vaccine allocation, according to a top state health official.
Keith Reed, Oklahoma’s Deputy Health Commissioner, gave an update Tuesday on the state’s efforts to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine.
During the update, he touched upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) vaccine mega pods, which were announced last week and could vaccinate thousands of people a day.
Those mega pods will not be happening as soon as previously planned in Oklahoma. The reason, Reed said, is because the mega pods will not include a separate federal vaccine allocation.
“If we continue with plans to bring these pods into the state, it would be necessary to divert large amounts of state vaccine allocation to sustain them,” Reed said. “Such a diversion would disrupt efforts to continue the rollout in an equitable manner all across the state.”
State officials, for the time being, will not move forward with establishing the federal mega pods.
“We will continue to monitor this and other potential FEMA resources and requests that might enhance and compliment our efforts,” Reed said.
Reed said information previously provided to the state about the mega pods “very specifically” said the pods would include federally allocated COVID-19 vaccines.
“And then as we delved into it deeper and started reaching in and asking for more clarification about where the vaccine was coming from, we were told that the fact that there was federal allocation coming with that was actually pre-decisional,” Reed said. “I can only assume that pre-decisional means that they had the option to change their minds on it.”
The decision on bringing FEMA mega pods into Oklahoma is on hold, but it ultimately depends on the inclusion of a separate federal vaccine allocation.
“It’s a kind of hold and monitor because, again, getting information, we want to make sure that we have solid information to make a decision. So, at this point it’s on hold to bring those into the state, but we are continuing to monitor that and if indeed they do adjust and come back and say, ‘We are gonna include vaccine with that,’ then we can flip that back on and bring them in,” he said.
Reed also gave the following update on the number of vaccines administered in the state:
- 587,820 total doses administered to Oklahomans;
- 157,679 Oklahomans have completed the full series;
- 43 percent of Oklahomans 65 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine.
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