HAYS COUNTY, Texas — Less than one hour after Hays County reopened its COVID-19 vaccine registration portal at noon Friday, Jan. 29, all appointments for available doses were booked. This is the second week in a row that appointments have been booked through the Hays County portal shortly after it opened.
In this second allocation of vaccine doses, Hays County received about 1,950 doses.
"Of course 1,950 vaccines evaporate as soon as we open the portal," said Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra in a Facebook live. "We have a population of almost 300,000."
Additionally, Becerra said that "If anyone from anywhere calls to make an appointment, and we have the vaccines, we have to give it to them." The judge said that as people made appointments for the vaccine starting at noon, he believed he saw people as far as Dallas registering through the Hays County portal.
He urged people upset with the number of vaccines and the allocation process to call their state lawmakers.
"We're doing our best with the crumbs we are given," Becerra said.
Hays County currently does not have a waitlist for the vaccine. That means the vaccine registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and residents are not able to register for the vaccine now that appointments have been filled for the vaccines available. Residents will have to wait for the portal to reopen.
Becerra said, at this point in time, the county does not plan on creating a waitlist for the vaccine. He said that Austin Public Health is a hub that covers the Hays County area, and so residents should sign up for the Austin Public Health waitlist if that's what they desire.
Here's how you get on Austin Public Health's waitlist:
- Create an account at AustinTexas.gov/COVID-19-Vaccines
- Pre-register for COVID-19 vaccine – the public health department is focusing on vaccinating those in group 1A and 1B who are the most vulnerable, such as the uninsured.
- You will answer a few questions about yourself, vaccine reaction and insurance information. Information provided will determine your eligibility for vaccination.
- You will not be asked about your immigration status.
- If eligible for an APH vaccine, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment.
- There will be a phased roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine with a very limited supply at the beginning. Austin Public Health follows Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines to determine eligibility.
- Vaccine information will be sent to IMMTRAC Texas Immunization Registry and then used to notify of you of your vaccine appointment availability, and for the required follow up appointment to receive the second record dosage of vaccine.
- Information you give during pre-registration is private and confidential by law and will be maintained with confidence.
- Vaccination is free.
- Keep in mind once you pre-register, the site might show no vaccine availability within 100 miles of you. APH said do not be alarmed, they will contact you once it's available if you qualify.
Residents were able to book their appointments for the coronavirus vaccine on the Hays County website here.
Those without internet access were asked to call 512-938-1650. However, county officials said the phone option is only for residents who do not have access to the internet because the county has a small group of employees who can help over the phone.
Residents looking to book an appointment should continue to monitor the Hays County website. They can also sign up for alerts about vaccine updates by texting "COVID" to 844-928-3213.
The vaccine is currently only available to those in Phase 1A and Phase 1B.
On Friday, Jan. 22, a portal was officially launched for Hays County residents, but within 25 minutes of the portal opening, every single time slot was filled for the upcoming week.
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