State and local leaders hope to instill confidence in the vaccine as it’s rolled out in Southwest Oklahoma
A COVID-19 vaccine is prepared prior to being administered Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Tulsa , Okla. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World, pool photo

State and local leaders hope to instill confidence in the vaccine as it’s rolled out in Southwest Oklahoma 

LAWTON, Okla. – The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to make it to Southwestern Oklahoma were administered in Lawton Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Kevin Stitt and Health Commissioner Col Lance Frye were among the state and local leaders at Comanche County Memorial Hospital for the historic event.

“Standing a little prouder now because we have something to offer and we’re very excited to get this out to everyone,” Col Frye said of the people he works with.

Laura Thomas, a 52-year-old COVID ICU nurse was the first to receive the vaccine. She said she did it to help protect people like her father.

“He was very excited, and he’s willing to step forward and take it as soon as he can,” Thomas said, “so I thought this is my way to honor him and to do my part to try and help with this.”

Mayor Stan Booker brought powerful memories from his own past, remembering standing in line as a 6-year-old to receive the Sabin vaccine for polio when it was first rolled out.

“That’s etched in my memory doing that,” Mayor Booker said, “and because we turned out as a country to take that vaccine, we wiped out polio in this country. I believe that it’s our patriotic duty to take this vaccine, to change the course of what’s happened, this disruption that we’ve had.”

The chief medical officer, Dr. Scott Michener, also took the opportunity to urge his fellow Oklahomans to believe in the science behind the vaccine.

“We’re having deaths every single day, I mean, you know the families that it’s destroying, the lives it’s destroying,” Dr. Michener said. “It’s not just old people, it’s young people as well, so I think you’ll see a lot of healthcare workers take it because they want to step up and they don’t want it to happen to them.”

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