How to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas

Coronavirus

An Austin Fire Department employee receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Austin Public Safety Wellness Center. December 28, 2020. Photo Courtesy Austin Fire Department.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The coronavirus vaccine is available to certain groups in Texas. Here’s what you need to know about the process of getting a vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Check what group you’re in

DSHS has created priority groups called phases for the vaccine. You can go here to check which group you belong to.

While it has opened up vaccinations to those in Phase 1A and 1B, practically not all providers have enough doses or are prepared to start vaccinating those in 1B.

Find a provider

Those in Phase 1A should be able to contact their employer to get a vaccine, while long-term care residents should contact their caretakers, DSHS says.

Those in Phase 1B can look up information from their provider online to see if it has doses available. DSHS has a map of where doses are being distributed, but that doesn’t necessarily show how many providers have available. People should first check their provider’s website for information. Many providers say they are receiving a lot of phone calls which ties up their phone lines if someone is having a medical issue. Some providers are also proactively contacting their patients to get them on a waiting list or set up appointments.

DSHS plans to open large vaccination hubs the week of Jan. 11 which must have phone and online registration available.

Get the first dose

Once people have an appointment, they will receive the first dose of the vaccine from their provider. Some people have reported side effects such as pain where they got the shot, fatigue, headache, body aches and fever. If symptoms continue for more than a few days, people should contact their healthcare providers. They can also use the Center for Disease Control’s tool, “V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker,” to track side effects.

Get a second dose

All but one of the vaccines being developed right now require two doses, about 21-28 days apart. DSHS says people should be fully protected one to two weeks after getting their second dose.

Keep up the safety measures

There are still a lot of unknowns about the vaccines which scientists are continuing to research, DSHS said. They are working to understand how long protection from the vaccines last and are also working to understand whether they prevent the spread of COVID-19 in addition to serious symptoms. DSHS says people should still wear a mask and social distance at this time.

DSHS has more information on its website.

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