Hays County now approved to be COVID-19 vaccine hub, but getting the shot could be challenging

Hays

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays County is officially approved to be a COVID-19 vaccine hub, creating the sixth in the Central Texas. But getting a vaccine is still proving to be a challenge.

As of Monday, pre-registering for the vaccine is still happening through the Austin Public Health Department’s website for Hays County. This is where a number of peoples’ issues are beginning.

Beth and Don Brown, both over 65, live in Travis County. But they can tell you first hand how difficult it’s been pre-registering through APH’s website. They’ve had no luck.

“You get to a page, and you get stuck… it recognizes the user name, but it keeps saying the password is bad,” Don said. “I’ve probably clicked on ‘reset the password,’ 20 times, and I’ve never gotten an email back.”

They say they’re locked out of their accounts, unable to reset their password. The Browns said they’ve been trying to pre-register to get the COVID-19 vaccine for days, so they can get their lives back.

“Going and waving at people through the door is not living,” Beth said.

The couple says they both have underlying health conditions. Don is a Type I diabetic, and Beth said she’s a breast cancer survivor and has asthma.

“It’s not worth the risk,” Beth said. “We both have health issues.”

They’re not the only ones reporting problems registering — and they haven’t gotten through to anyone when they call. 

KXAN asked Hays County why it is still directing its neighbors to pre-register through APH, even though Hays County is now an approved vaccine hub. 

“We have no choice,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said. “Travis County is our hub at this time.”

Becerra said his county’s vaccine registration site won’t be active until they get their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“From the moment they’re in our possession, we click a switch, and the portal is open,” Becerra said. “And I will promise you this — that within, 24 to 48 hours, it will all be spoken for.”

Hays County is trying to take steps to make it a smooth process.

“Our office is implementing a vaccine registration system so that once we have the doses available, we will begin scheduling appointments,” Emergency Operations Director Mike Jones said. “We have a tight window of opportunity to distribute the vaccine once a vial is opened, and we’re asking for the public’s help in ensuring we strictly follow the protocols in place.”

Beth and Don hope that spreads out some of the demand soon. 

“We won’t stop,” Beth said. “We’ll be persistent.”

Hays County is expected to get 1,900  doses this week. Becerra said it does not anticipate any issues with its registration site.

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