Volunteers educate vulnerable residents in Hays County on how to register for the COVID-19 vaccine

Hays

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Getting a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t easy. Volunteers are trying to reach the most vulnerable populations to help.

The Hays County COVID-19 online vaccine registration portal went live Friday. According to County Judge Ruben Becerra, appointments filled up in 15 minutes.

The county has provided regular updates as new information becomes available. Still, the office of Hays County’s State Rep. Erin Zwiener feels there’s more of a need for outreach.

On Wednesday, her office asked for volunteers to sign up reach out to vulnerable populations, including the elderly. The group of volunteers made calls to provide more information on trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the county and elsewhere.

Volunteers called a list of people pulled from state data from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening. It was all done virtually.

“I think by reaching out, there’s some level of comfort to say, ‘we know you’re there, you’re not alone,'” Sandra Tenorio, a volunteer, said.

Tenorio said the first time she volunteered, the group called around 600 people combined.

“We’re reaching out to anyone over 65 that we have a number for,” she said.

This will be the second week volunteers are making calls.

“I have told people: stay on top of Hays County, they’re going to get more shots,” Tenorio said.

Becerra said the first round of registering patients and administering shots went well but admits the process isn’t perfect.

“The only advantage to this Friday’s portal opening is that we have been given heads up [from the state],” Becerra said.

Still, Becerra is on the fence about a waiting list.

“Some people want us to create a list, but the list creates a new level of complexities,” Becerra said.

Tenorio and others are working to bridge the gap between the younger and older neighbors trying to get the shot.

“We certainly are encouraging people to explore all options,” Tenorio said.

Hays County also said those without internet access or those who need help registering for a COVID-19 vaccine can call (512) 938-1650.

Becerra and county commissioners said in a meeting on Tuesday they are constantly working to improve the process.

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