covid-19 vaccine

Collin County Sets Up Waitlist for COVID-19 Vaccine

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Collin County Healthcare Services launched a waitlist Tuesday for qualifying residents who want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The website launched at 9:30 a.m.

By 6 p.m., a county official said more than 30,000 people had signed up.

To register, applicants must certify they are qualified to receive the vaccine.

The vaccine is currently only being administered to those who are part of Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those in Phase 1A are front-line healthcare workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over the age of 65, or those over the age of 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe illness.

Once the form is filled out, registrants will be processed in the order received. From there, the county health department will let the registrant know where they are in line for the vaccine, notify them of when vaccines become available and schedule appointments to be vaccinated.

"It's high demand. It's very reminiscent to what happened with testing early on in the pandemic," said County Commissioner Darrell Hale.

Encouraging demand is the fact that the state opened up vaccinations last week to people in the 1B category. In a press release on December 21, the Texas Department of State Health Services said, "it will likely be at least a few weeks before a transition to Phase 1B occurs."

The DSHS has not responded to NBC 5's questions about why the transition occurred sooner than outlined. Many local leaders have said a delay in data the state was sent over the holidays gave the appearance that doses were sitting on shelves, when that wasn't actually the case.

Collin County Healthcare Services launched a waitlist Tuesday for residents who want to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Older people who now qualify say they're frustrated at the lack of vaccine availability.

"As we were developing the vaccine at 'warp speed,' we should at least have had a plan to roll it out," said Bill Sipes, a 68-year-old teacher and cancer survivor.

Once vaccinated, people are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since the vaccine does not offer 100% protection.

CCHCS said they received 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week and that as of Tuesday morning all of the doses had all been either administered or were scheduled to be administered.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 5, the CCHCS said they have not received any new shipments of the vaccine from DSHS and that they often have short notice for when shipments will arrive. Vaccine availability will be posted on the county's website, collincountytx.gov.

"Due to the limited volume of vaccines available in Collin County, individuals are encouraged to contact their primary health care provider and their local pharmacy to inquire about additional availability. Please note that most private health care providers maintain their own vaccine wait lists separate from the Collin County Health Care Services wait list," CCHCS said in a statement Tuesday.

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