AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many Central Texans are frustrated about the limited access to COVID-19 vaccines. Some tell KXAN they’ve lined up appointments in other cities because they can’t find any options here.
Greg Glazner of Austin, who falls under Phase 1B, traveled to San Antonio Wednesday night to get his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He searched for weeks for an appointment in Austin, but didn’t have any luck. He was finally able to get one, almost 80 miles away through University Health. The site has been vaccinating an average of 1500 people from high-risk groups each day, for the last week. Hospital officials say they have scheduled all of their available doses.
“I think if I was waiting in Austin it would probably be months like February or March before I got it,” Glazner said. “I feel super lucky because I know people have been having problems and challenges signing up.”
On Wednesday, Austin Public Health (APH) tried to address those challenges and concerns during a town hall about the vaccine rollout. That’s after its own site was overwhelmed by people trying to sign-up.
In the virtual town hall, APH officials said the 12,000 doses it received this week, would be allocated at “four varying locations” by appointment only. The focus is on older adults, uninsured/underinsured with limited access to care and the remaining 1A populations.
“Four, five, six, eight weeks from now we’re not going to be talking about such restricted availability and we’ll have availability everywhere and I say that with confidence because we will have a third vaccine approved early next month,” said APH Interim Health Authority, Dr. Mark Escott.
The Department of State Health Services says Austin is receiving a comparable amount of the vaccine to other cities, but the amount received depends on a city’s capacity. Department officials say for the hub sites, allocations were based on the amount hub officials said they could handle and the amount of people they could vaccinate in a day or a week.
The state says it will receive more than 330,000 doses next week because it fulfilled its obligation with the Federal Pharmacy Partnership. The focus will be on creating more centralized hubs, so that people can register for the vaccine and know where and when they will get it.