Central Tech holds successful vaccination pod with Creek County Health Department

700 people received their first or second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination shot on Tuesday, March 16th at Central Tech’s Sapulpa campus vaccination pod, the third of many pods to be held there on Tuesdays now through August. 

Entrance to the Central Tech vaccination pod.

Vaccination “patients” came from all over the Tulsa Metropolitan area for their first or second vaccination shot. Most had gone elsewhere for their first, some as far away as Lawton. 

Creek County Health Department medical professionals and staff, Central Tech students and staff, along with a multitude of volunteers from public and private enterprises, ran the pod, which began at 9 a.m. and concluded at 4 p.m. The average length of time from start to finish was around 45 minutes per patient (which included a 15-minute post-vaccine waiting period). 

Strict protocol was employed to keep patients six feet apart during the entire process and to ensure that the “flow” was maintained throughout each stage. The process included check-in at the entrance, waiting in line, checking in with a code from the portal or card from the first vaccination site, getting assigned to an open CCHD nurse, receiving the shot, a new card, and a sticker with your 15-minutes-post-shot time, waiting in the post-vaccine area for the required 15 minutes, which was staffed with a CCHD nurse, a Central Tech employee, and several volunteers, and which was separated from the pre-vaccine areas, and then if you were feeling well, exiting the building.

Looking out at the patients waiting out their 15-minute post-vaccine period, it was mostly a sea of people tinkering on their phones. 

A small minority of patients felt ill after their shot, which was limited to some nausea and lightheadedness, largely due to anxiety over needles. Symptoms were eased with some combination of a talk with the excellent post-vaccine nurses, cool bottles of water, sugary snacks, deep breathing, or fresh air. 

The parking lot was staffed with Central Tech Criminal Justice students who were available to escort patients to or from their vehicles, operate wheelchairs if necessary, and to answer questions. 

The pod was efficient, and very well-planned. Central Tech and Creek County Health Department directors and staff are to be lauded for their foresight and preparation. And both entities emphasized “the wonderful partnership” with each other which they say makes these pods successful. 

As I was an “interior escort” volunteer near the exit, I was able to talk to lots of patients and to wish those leaving a nice day. Many people made the effort to praise Central Tech, CCHD, and the volunteers for “such a well run” process that made what could have been a time-consuming, unpleasant hassle an easy, smooth experience. There were a lot of “great jobs” and commendations from patients on their second shot who had had less-than-ideal experiences at other locations on their first go-round. 

On a personal note, it was nice to see so many (masked) faces, to hear so many voices, and to chat with so many folks again. Here’s hoping that we get “back to normal,” whatever that means, soon!

Things to Know: 

Oklahoma is currently in Phase 3 of the statewide vaccine distribution plan. 

Current priority groups eligible for vaccine appointments as part of Phase 3 are:

Healthcare workers including expanded healthcare worker groups such as allied health fields and general outpatient health service (i.e. behavioral health, dentists)

  • First responders
  • Oklahomans age 65+
  • Oklahomans under age 65 with comorbidities
  • Teachers and staff in PreK-12 schools and childcare facilities
  • People living and working in congregate locations and worksites
  • Public health staff and state, county, and city government leaders and elected officials
  • Teachers, staff, and students age 16+ in educational settings such as colleges, universities, career/vocational technology centers, etc. (only Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16+, other vaccine types are approved for 18+)
  • Workers for essential businesses and industries, critical infrastructure staff

Continue to monitor the State Health Department website for your phase’s progress in the statewide vaccine distribution plan at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov

You must register via the statewide portal at the website listed above in order to make a vaccination appointment. 

You must bring a government-issued ID with you to your appointment. 

Your appointment will be at a certified location within 100 miles of where you live, depending on timing and availability. It will not necessarily be in your hometown. 

At your first appointment you will be given a card with the date when you are eligible for your second shot. 

You must bring this card with you to your second shot appointment, along with your ID. 

CCHD staff advises looking for appointments for your second shot about a week ahead of time. 

Make sure your second shot is the same vaccine as your first. 

CCHD encourages completing your second dose, as it builds immunity and provides enhanced protection against the virus. 

Additionally, the Cherokee Nation is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for any member of the public, regardless of where they live, at any of the tribe’s outpatient health centers. You may call 539-234-4099 to schedule an appointment for vaccination or visit health.cherokee.org.

To volunteer for an upcoming Central Tech vaccination pod, contact Dr. Kim Howard, Director, at 918-224-9300 ext. 102, or through email, at kim.howard@centraltech.edu.