Austin Public Health has launched an online coronavirus vaccine registration system.
The system, which was launched early Wednesday, allows Austin-Travis County residents who qualify to sign up for a vaccine and potentially receive a first dose this week.
Roughly 30 minutes after Austin Public Health announced the registration system, the site appeared to crash.
“The COVID-19 vaccination pre-registration scheduling feature has gone offline (and) we are working to restore it with the vendor. Please stand by while our team resolves the problem,” Austin Public Health said at 9:30 a.m.
Austin Public Health will be vaccinating people who meet criteria for Phase 1A or 1B, which includes frontline health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and those who are 65 years or older.
Individuals who have private insurance are encouraged to call their primary care provider or pharmacy for a vaccine first.
The online system is only for vaccines Austin Public Health receives, not for other vaccine providers in Austin-Travis County.
A phone line will also be available for those without internet or computer access.
The Austin Public Health Nursing Hotline will be available for those without internet or computer access. The hotline number is 512-972-5560.
The hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 am. to 1 p.m.
The hotline is available in multiple languages, and callers can press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 for Vietnamese and other languages.
Austin Public Health received 12,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week.
“It is critically important that we focus on our most vulnerable populations, including those who do not have private insurance or regular access to healthcare,” said Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden.
A map of vaccine providers is available on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
Those who qualify to receive a vaccine through Austin Public Health can register by visiting AustinTexas.gov/COVID19-Vaccines. The website will direct uses to create an account or log in to an existing account and complete an assessment.
If individuals meet the criteria and appointments are still available, they will be allowed to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccine. If individuals are not eligible or appointments are full, they will be placed on a waiting list.
Appointments are required and, to protect patient privacy, locations will only be available to those with scheduled appointments, a written statement from Austin Public Health says.
“The launch of our pre-registration system is the first major step toward getting the COVID-19 vaccine out into the wider community,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, in the statement. “However, vaccine supply still remains incredibly limited and there is not enough to meet the community-wide demand. We continue to encourage the community to be patient as we work to distribute the vaccine in an equitable manner. Until we are able to reach herd immunity through widespread vaccinations, it is important to remember that saying home if you can, masking, distancing, and frequent hand washing remain effective means of preventing infection.”
Escott will brief the public at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the coronavirus vaccine and current transmission trends in Austin-Travis County.
Those who want to learn more can watch live here.