County COVID vaccination numbers increasing

JAMES BEATY | Staff photo

Adam Butler, left, is given a COVID-19 vaccination by Pittsburg County Health Department RN Shandy Schmitt outside a health department outreach station in June at McAlester’s Hunter Park.

More Pittsburg County residents have taken the COVID-19 vaccination over the past month — with numbers still short of the halfway mark.

In Pittsburg County, 41.6% of the population who are eligible for immunization against COVID-19 had received at least one of the vaccinations as of early July, said Regional/Pittsburg County Health Department Administrator Juli Montgomery. 

That’s up from the 31% for the same Pittsburg County age group who had been administered the vaccine by early June.

Still, as the Delta variant spreads in neighboring Missouri, Montgomery would like to see the vaccination rate continue to increase in the county and across Southeastern Oklahoma.

With 37,232 Pittsburg County residents ages 12 and older who are eligible to take a COVID-19 shot, Montgomery said 15,487 of them have received at least one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations available in the county. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines each require two shots, while the Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires one.

Numbers are lower when assessing those who are considered fully-vaccinated, either by getting two shots from the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or through one the Johnson and Johnson vaccinations.

Approximately 35.8% of Pittsburg County residents have been given either two of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations, or one of the Johnson and Johnson vaccinations, Montgomery said. That amounts to 13,341 individuals.

Numbers are higher when the vaccinations of the 65 and older age group in Pittsburg County are compiled. Montgomery said there are 8,882 Pittsburg County residents who are aged 65 or older.

Montgomery said 5,900 of those 65 or older, or 66.4% of those eligible in that age group, have received at least one of the COVID-19 vaccinations.

Members of that age group considered fully vaccinated by either getting two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations, or one of the Johnson and Johnson vaccinations, come in 5,331 individuals or 60% of those eligible.

Numbers include only those given the vaccination through the Pittsburg County Health Department or through one of its partners, such as a pharmacy.

While Montgomery is pleased the number of county residents with COVID-19 vaccinations is increasing, she would like to see higher numbers.

“We could do better,” Montgomery said. She said Oklahoma County was at a 53% vaccination rate in early July, while Tulsa County also stood at 53%.

“We are still trying to do outreach at community events,” Montgomery said. Also, free COVID-19 vaccinations are still available at the Pittsburg County Health Department and other health departments in Montgomery’s Region 9, which includes much of Southeast Oklahoma.

Those interested in having a COVID-19 vaccination outreach station at an event can contact the Pittsburg County Health Department at 918-423-1267 or any county health department in Region 9.

“We would love to come out and talk with anyone who might have questions,” said Montgomery.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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