How to get your second coronavirus vaccine in Oklahoma
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify how you can access the state's vaccine scheduling portal to schedule your second dose and the vaccines available at second-dose clinics.
If you are one of the 230,000 Oklahomans who have received a first COVID-19 vaccine inoculation, congratulations, but your COVID-19 vaccine journey is only halfway complete.
In some ways, scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine can seem more complicated the second time around.
COVID-19 vaccines are still limited in Oklahoma and currently reserved for health care workers, first responders and residents 65 and older.
Do I have to schedule my second shot through the state’s website?
It depends. In some cases, Oklahomans will receive specific, second-dose instructions when they get their first shot, which means they don’t have to schedule another appointment through the state’s website.
“If they were given a card, and it said ‘you come back on this date,’ that is your appointment to come back on that date,” said Oklahoma's Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed.
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You may be able to use the email link you received to schedule your first shot to schedule your second shot. You may also receive a second email to schedule your booster shot. In the event that you deleted the email and need to reregister to enter the portal, you will have to use a second email address, different from the email address you used to book your first appointment.
The website will ask if you are registering for a first, or prime, dose or a second dose, also known as a booster shot. If registering for a second dose, you may be asked what vaccine you received the first time to ensure your second dose matches.
Booster shot clinics should have both Pfizer and Moderna doses on hand.
Do I have to go back to the same location to get my second shot?
State officials ask that, if possible, you receive your second dose at the same location as your first shot.
Let’s face it, scheduling thousands of vaccines each week is complicated enough as it is. Having to bring all those same Oklahomans back weeks later for a second shot only complicates matters further.
Oklahomans returning to the same vaccine clinic where they received their first shot makes it easier for the state to know where to allocate vaccine supply.
“It is preferred that you get your second shot at the same location you got your first,” Reed said. “This is due to the logistical challenges required to manage second-dose clinics and plan for adequate and appropriate inventory.”
Does my second shot have to be exactly three or four weeks after the first?
No. State health leaders say you should try to get your second dose as close as possible to the recommended timeline, but it’s OK if the boost dose occurs a tad late.
Typically, the second Pfizer dose is administered 21 days after the first vaccine, and the second Moderna dose is administered 28 days after the first.
State health officials said that timeline is flexible because the second dose might be a few days late.
“Please do not be concerned if you’re not able to schedule on exactly that date that aligns with Day 21 or Day 28,” Reed said.
Health officials worry that receiving the second shot too late, such as weeks or months after the recommended second-dose date, could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.
How soon can I schedule my second vaccination?
Some Oklahomans may want to schedule their second shot immediately after the first, but offerings may be limited on the state's vaccine scheduling website.
Right now, most local health departments are only able to schedule vaccine clinics about a week in advance, after state officials find out how many doses Oklahoma will receive for the upcoming week.
Reed said state and local officials are trying to add more second-dose appointments sooner.
"We haven’t been putting those appointments in three and four weeks in advance because we’re still waiting on vaccines," he said. "We’re working on getting second dose appointments put into the system further out."
State health officials ask that Oklahomans refrain from scheduling their first COVID-19 shot through designated second-dose appointments.
Is a single-dose vaccine on the way?
Possibly. Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson has developed a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine that is currently in phase three clinical trials.
Health officials are hopeful the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could approve the vaccine for emergency-use authorization as soon as next month.
Logistically, a single-dose vaccine would make widespread inoculations much easier, Reed said.
“I cannot express how much I would love to have a single-dose vaccine right now,” he said.
Reporter Carmen Forman covers state government, politics and the COVID-19 pandemic for The Oklahoman. Send story tips to email@example.com or connect on Twitter with @CarmenMForman. Support the work of Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a print or digital subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe.