Health Department officials and volunteers worked Wednesday to vaccinate nearly 1000 first responders, health care workers, and age 65 and older Oklahoma residents against the novel coronavirus that has caused the most disruptive pandemic in more than 100 years.
Police used barricades to control traffic in and around the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex Wednesday, but the event remained orderly and cordial.
"We are giving COVID-19 vaccines," Oklahoma State Health Department District 8 Public Information Officer Julie Williamson said late Wednesday morning. "We expect to give around 1000 doses. So far it has gone well."
Rita Cloar was among hundreds on hand to receive her first COVID-19 vaccination.
"Thrilled to have it done!" Cloar said. "There was a great big long line of cars, but other than that, the process, once you are in the building, it's a great process, it's very smooth."
When asked if she thought the vaccine would be safe and effective, Cloar said without hesitation, "Absolutely! I was very excited to get in as early as we did and get it done."
The vaccine given Wednesday was from Moderna.
Williamson said things went well.
"Once people are here, get in, and take their shot, they wait for 15 minutes in observation unless they've had a reaction before, in which case they wait 30 minutes," Williamson said. "We have an informational video for them, we have staff on hand to help if they are feeling nervous or need extra support. This is an emotional day for a lot of people. It's been a stressful nine months."
Williamson said the Health Department will have regular announcements about more upcoming vaccination events.
"We expect to have an announcement every Thursday or Friday for events the following week," Williamson said. "The State will find out the shipment amounts every week. They will allocate that to the different groups, and we will find out who will be the next group."