Vaccination rates increasing in southwest Oklahoma

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - More than 71,000 coronavirus vaccines have been given out across the state since the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine.

Brandie Combs with the State Health Department said health departments in our area gave out 901 shots the first week of August.

This week the health departments administered 1,600 shots.

There was also a spike in vaccinations outside of the health department.

Other vaccine sites reported about a thousand shots given the first week of August, and about 1,500 this past week.

In total, there was a 54 percent increase in vaccines, no matter where someone got the shot.

“In Oklahoma, 62.5 percent of those eligible to get the vaccine have received and 51.3 percent are fully vaccinated. When you compare that to District 5 or southwest Oklahoma we have about 59.4 percent that has received their first dose with 48.8 percent being fully vaccinated,” Combs said.

Combs was hopeful more people would get the vaccine when Pfizer was approved, and now that the numbers are coming in, she’s very relieved.

“It’s a win. It’s a success story on the part of an individual as well as our community. Anytime who was on the fence who decides I’m going to get the vaccine to protect their health, to protect their family, and just as important to protect our community,” Combs said.

Combs said we need to continue to pick up vaccination efforts to prevent the virus from doing any more damage than it already has.

“We have about 155 residents in southwest Oklahoma in the hospital with 31 of them being in the ICU. So we are continuing to see our cases increase. We are continuing to see or hospitalizations increase. There is not an ICU bed in any of the southwest Oklahoma hospitals when they reported. We have to keep in mind those reports are based on staffing,” Combs said.

Building herd immunity is still the goal to prevent another variant from forming.

“The more we allow the virus to spread in our communities. We are risking the fact that this vaccine isn’t going to be as effective. Right now, we are seeing that it’s effective. The whole point isn’t to prevent infection from this vaccine. It’s about preventing deaths and hospitalizations,” Combs said.

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