OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the FDA looks to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, state health leaders are releasing more information about who will receive the vaccine first in Oklahoma.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it would work rapidly toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Good Morning America Friday that emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
“The FDA informed Pfizer that they do intend to proceed towards an authorization for their vaccine,” Azar said. “So in the next couple of days probably as we work to negotiate with Pfizer, the information doctors need to prescribe it appropriately, we should be seeing the authorization of this first vaccine.”
Depending on how quickly the FDA acts, the vaccine could be distributed within days.
On Friday, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health released the framework for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Sooner State.
Phase One: December 2020
Commissioner of Heath Col. Lance Frye says that Oklahoma should begin receiving the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 16. In the following weeks, officials say they expect to receive 60,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Long -term care residents and staff
Under phase one of the vaccine rollout, officials say the following people will be first in line to receive the vaccine:
- Long-term care residents and staff served by the federal LTC Pharmacy Partnership Program
Officials say that includes workers in residential health care settings who either work in situations where risk of transmission is high or are at an elevated risk of transmitting the infection to patients at high risk of mortality and severe morbidity. Individuals living in residential health care settings that increase their risk of infection and resultant morbidity and mortality.
In all, officials estimate that will affect 62,000 Oklahomans.
Under phase one, healthcare workers who are providing direct inpatient COVID-19 care will also be eligible for the vaccine. Those workers include
- Healthcare workers in emergency rooms, hospitals, intensive care units, other workers inherent to the care of COVID-19 patients as determined by the facility (janitorial, food service, etc.)
This includes workers in acute/emergency/inpatient health care settings who either work in situations where risk of transmission is high or are at an elevated risk of transmitting the infection to patients at high risk of mortality and severe morbidity.
Officials estimate this affects 84,000 Oklahomans.
Public health staff
Under phase one, public health staff conducting front line COVID-19 pandemic mitigation and control activities are also included. Those jobs include:
- Nurses administering COVID vaccine, public and private lab personnel processing COVID specimens, and other public health staff inherent to the COVID testing/vaccine process with direct contact with the public.
Officials say workers in public health settings who either work in situations where risk of transmission is high, who themselves are unable to avoid exposure to the virus, and who play a critical role in ensuring that those with or suspected of COVID are able to be served by the public health system.
This likely affects 500 Oklahomans.
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
State leaders say emergency personnel on the front lines are also included in phase one of the vaccine rollout.
- Oklahoma licensed personnel includes certified emergency medical responders, licensed EMTs, intermediates, advanced EMTs, and paramedics.
This will also include workers who provide direct, emergency services to those with or suspected of COVID when rendering necessary immediate care as an extension of the direct, inpatient COVID care provided by hospitals.
This population includes 11,400.
Phase Two: January 2021
Phase two will focus on first responders and healthcare workers who may be exposed to patients.
This category will include the following:
- First responders, paid and unpaid, including fire departments, law enforcement, homeland security, emergency managers, and medical examiners.
Officials say this includes workers who provide emergency services in some situations where exposure to infected individuals is unavoidable when rendering necessary immediate care to the public.
Authorities say that population consists of about 5,000 Oklahomans.
Under phase two, healthcare workers providing direct, COVID outpatient care and services, who through the course of their daily roles are not able to maintain social distancing. This includes:
- Workers providing care primarily for adults 65 and older, and/or adults of any age with comorbidities.
- Workers directly treating or screening for COVID.
- Workers in high -risk outpatient settings such as those performing aerosolized procedures or close examinations of the nasopharynx, dentists, speech-language, pathologists, etc.
- Workers in urgent care, outpatient facilities, primary care, federally qualified health centers, community health centers, rural health centers, pharmacies (not involved in the federal allocation plan), home health, hospice, rehabilitation services, occupational/physical therapy, etc.
- Death care workers involved in the handling of deceased COVID persons.
This includes workers in outpatient, chronic health care settings who either work in situations where risk of transmission is high or are at an elevated risk of transmitting the infection to patients at high risk of mortality and severe morbidity.
Officials say this affects about 67,000 people in the state.
Under the state’s plan, the second phase will also include people who are at high-risk of death if they are infected with COVID-19.
- Adults age 65 and older, and adults of any age with comorbidities
Older adults and adults with one or multiple comorbid conditions including but not limited to hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung, liver or renal disease, cancers, who are at high risk of mortality and several morbidity resulting from COVID infection.
Officials say this will affect 635,000 Oklahomans.
Staff and residents in congregate locations
This category includes the following:
- Homeless shelters
- Public and private, state and municipal prisons/jails, not including those facilities served by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and involved in the federal allocation plan.
- Certain manufacturing facilities with limited social distancing capacity who are critical to the maintenance of the food supply.
This includes workers and persons living in congregate settings who are at high risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID infection.
This will affect approximately 18,000 people, officials say.
Public health staff who maintain society
Officials say workers whose work is vital to the function of society and economy, who work without adequate protection while in close proximity with coworkers and members of the public, and who are at high risk of exposure to and transmission of a COVID infection.
- Public health staff supporting front line efforts, senior state, county, and city government leaders and elected officials critical to maintain continuity of governmental operations and services.
This should affect 2,000 people.
Phase Three: TBD
Under phase three, teachers and students will be able to be vaccinated.
Teachers, students and staff in educational settings
Officials say teachers, students and administrative staff in educational settings will be able to get vaccinated in the third phase. Those persons include:
- Pre-K 12 schools, child care facilities, early childhood facilities, colleges, universities, career/vocational technology centers, and other post -secondary institutions as may be eligible for the vaccine.
Workers and students, for which exposure is very difficult to control due to the nature of their institutions, and who serve an important societal role ensuring educational needs are met.
This population should include 1,022,000 Oklahomans.
Officials say essential personnel who are at high risk of exposure to, transmission of, and morbidity and mortality resulting from COVID infection.
- Critical infrastructure personnel or “essential business/industry” personnel as specified in the Governor’s 3rd executive order.
This affects 1.5 million Oklahomans.
Phase Four: TBD
Under the fourth and final phase of the plan, the vaccine would be available to all Oklahoma residents.
Officials stress that the plans could change as more data becomes available in the coming weeks.
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