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Oklahoma City mayor says he'll get COVID-19 vaccine, encourages others to do the same

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt says he will be vaccinated against COVID-19 "when that is appropriate" while there's some division among other city council members.

"I absolutely will take any approved vaccine when that is appropriate and will strongly encourage our residents to do the same," Holt said Tuesday. Announcements in the past week confirmed two independently developed vaccines are getting closer to distribution, perhaps by the end of the year. Asked whether he would get a vaccine when it is available and recommend others do the same, Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner said, "No and no. It probably goes without saying but I would also be against any requirement to be vaccinated." Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee, the longest-serving current council member and the oldest at 83, said, "Right now, I would say yes. However, I will reserve my right to change my mind. There is still more research to be done, I think."

Greiner and McAtee have opposed Oklahoma City's mask mandate. The current extension of the mask ordinance runs until Dec. 7.

Ward 4 Councilman Todd Stone said he would get vaccinated.

"The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our community, families and economy," Stone said.

"I believe personal responsibility will bring an end to our suffering and the challenges we have endured together," he said.

"I will commit to taking every step I can as an individual to bring the pandemic to a close for our city," Stone said, "including wearing a mask, limiting my interactions with others, and participating in safe and effective vaccinations."

Responding to spiking cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday that bars and restaurants statewide would have to shut down indoor dining and drinking nightly at 11 p.m. starting Thursday.

Visitors to state buildings have to wear masks effective Tuesday and state employees will have to wear masks while at work. The governor said, though, that he remained opposed to a statewide mask mandate.

Holt said the steps taken by the governor "were certainly welcome."

" More than their substance, I hope that residents see that the governor, implementing his first restrictions since May, reflects that the situation could not be more serious," Holt said. "The numbers have essentially doubled in a two-week period," he said. "We can bring them back down just as fast but it will require a response by every single person in this city over the next two weeks," Holt said. "We’ll be asking for that effort in the days ahead."

The state Health Department reported 1,551 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. Monday, a record 1,381 patients were hospitalized.

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