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Oklahoma Officials Encourage Parents To Get Newly Eligible Kids Vaccinated

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Oklahomans age 12-15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, but they won’t have to.

Immediately after federal regulators signed off on the coronavirus vaccine for adolescents on Wednesday, Oklahoma followed suit. Health officials held a media availability on Thursday, where they urged parents across the state to contribute to the vaccine effort.

In the briefing, Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed said the department would not embark on the legislative process to require the shots for school admission in K-12 or post-secondary schools.

"We don’t have any intent of pursuing that on a state level," said Reed. "It's similar to flu shots each year. You know, we don’t require flu shots for school-age children, even though it is important for them to get vaccinated.

Reed said it's unlikely that school districts or universities would implement their own requirements. However, the University of Oklahoma recently announced students who interact with patients at the university's medical centers and those who study abroad are required to be vaccinated.

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Catherine Sweeney reports for StateImpact Oklahoma, focusing on health.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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