Comanche County Emergency Management Director Michael Merritt and Brandie Combs, Regional Director for the Oklahoma Department of Health District 5 addressed complaints Monday about people coming from as far away as Oklahoma City to receive the vaccine in Comanche County, raising concerns about vaccine supply.
During Monday’s Comanche County Commissioner’s meeting, Merritt informed commissioners that vaccinations were proceeding quickly and efficiently. However, he said he had heard complaints that Oklahoman’s were traveling all the way from Oklahoma City to take advantage of the county’s process to get their dose. While this isn’t detrimental to anyone getting theirs, it does cause some frustration when trying to schedule an appointment on the state’s vaccine portal, only to find out the schedule is already full.
According to Merritt, the county receives doses of the vaccine from the state based off population and current phase as well as the state’s supply from the federal government. When someone goes outside their county to receive a dose it slows the process down and numbers have to be re-worked, he said.
“Our process is going fast and furious,” Merritt said. “But people coming in from out of county are slowing us down some and keeping our residents from getting their dose in a timely manner. But, we will have enough doses for everyone, it will just take some patience and work.”
The problem, Merritt says is with the state’s website which allows anyone to register where they want. So as frustrating as it may be, he said there’s not a lot anyone can do about it. He said issuance of the vaccine isn’t a zero sum gain.
“I don’t think we’ll run out, because we’ll just have to manipulate or slide the system around for those shots that are supposed to be allocated for up there that are coming down here,” Merritt said. “It does though, at the end of the day, delay our county residents from getting theirs, but in the end everyone will eventually get it.”
For Combs, she sees it as a non-issue but understands the frustration. She said everyone should just be patient and the more people who get the vaccine, regardless of what county they live in, the better.
“Of course we want it to go to local residents, but in the end we’re all Oklahomans and the more who get it, the better off we all are,” Combs said. “I want to assure everyone that when we have the vaccines, they will get it. Just be patient, allow the vaccines to get to your county and use the state website to set up an appointment.”
Combs said the website to set up appointments opens every Thursday for the following week. It is set up on a first come first serve basis, however. She encourages everyone to register first, then check back with the website Thursday morning when the appointment schedule opens up.
To register and schedule an appointment visit https://vaccinate.oklahoma.gov.