AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health is making changes to its COVID-19 vaccine process — from registration to administering doses — to help ease some issues patients have faced.
This week, APH extended its hours, added vaccination sites and upgraded its online appointment system in hopes of vaccinating more people than it has in weeks past.
Between first and second doses, APH’s goal is nearly 34,700 shots in arms this week.
As of Tuesday, APH had given out 7,500 second doses and still had 13,600 to give out by Saturday. APH scheduled 6,300 first dose appointments for Wednesday and Thursday and will open up its portal again on Thursday to schedule an additional 5,600 doses for Friday through Sunday.
Some who’ve received their second shots this week tell KXAN they got an email the night before letting them know their appointment was scheduled for the next year.
At the Delco Center Tuesday, Dagmar Mora told KXAN her email said something to the effect of, “You get your second shot tomorrow, and if you can’t make it, don’t worry, there will be other appointments.”
Others, like Laura McCarley are still waiting to hear when they’ll receive their second dose. McCarley says Thursday will mark four weeks since she was first vaccinated, and she still hasn’t heard anything from APH about her second appointment.
“It’d be fine if I saw my name on a list that said, ‘you’re next week,’ or, ‘you’re two weeks from now,’ but just never being able to find out anything is really frustrating,” McCarley said.
While APH is still manually scheduling second dose appointments for patients like her, it’s changing that process moving forward. People will be assigned a second dose appointment on the spot, while at their first dose appointments.
For those still trying to get that first vaccine through APH’s website, there’s a new queuing system that aims to help ease the stress of the process. It tells people their place in line and gives an estimated wait time. Once it’s their turn, patients must complete the appointment process.
This is what APH’s improved queueing system looks like. It tells those trying to schedule a vaccine appointment how many others are in line before them, and gives them time to schedule an appointment once it’s their turn.
KXAN also learned some of the first people to get the vaccine from APH more than 40 days ago still haven’t gotten their second doses.
APH says that’s due to an error in data entry on its part. Some people’s records were mistakenly not entered into the system, even after APH assured patients last month that all records from the first week would be entered manually.
APH is unsure how many people are affected by the data entry errors.
APH posted a form for those patients to fill out on its website, so they can reach out directly with their information and get scheduled for a second shot.