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'The Rug Was Pulled Out': Oklahoma Officials Frustrated By Depleted Federal Vaccine Reserve

CVS Health Newsroom

As recently as Wednesday, Oklahoma health officials were hopeful that the state’s weekly vaccine supply would double. But that hope disappeared Friday, when news broke that the federal stockpile fueling that supply surge is gone.

"I was under the illusion earlier this week that there was additional supply out there, and it was sitting there," said Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner of Health, in a Friday briefing.

Health officials were expecting vaccine supply to double in coming weeks, allowing the state to ramp up its distribution. Reed got a call from the federal government vaccine suppliers on Thursday, where he learned that shipment would not double. He didn’t find out why until the next day.

"Quite frankly, the additional information was from the media report," said Reed.

The Trump Administration and its vaccine team, Operation Warp Speed, had promised to stockpile vaccines to ensure states would have a steady supply for their residents’ required second doses. The Washington Post reported Friday that the administration began distributing those vaccines last month, and the stockpile is depleted.

Oklahomans will still get their first and second doses, but it’s going to take even more patience.


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Catherine Sweeney reports for StateImpact Oklahoma, focusing on health.
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