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COVID vaccine appointments gone in five minutes

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:23 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Thousands of residents are disappointed after COVID-19 vaccine appointments filled up within minutes.

Thousands competed to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment Monday morning.

“The scheduling portal opened today at 8 a.m. and all appointments were filled up within 4 and a half.”

The City of Laredo Health Department says 1,200 appointment slots were up for grabs which is the same number of doses the city reports the state allocated to the health department this week.

Of those 1,200, 900 were available online and 300 by phone.

The city had previously stated this round of appointments would be for those 65 and older.

City officials ask the public to be patient as the demand continues to be higher than the supply.

With the allocation of vaccines only being close to or a little over one thousand a week, officials expect distribution to be a slow process.

”Laredo had a good start with more than 10,000 first doses sent during week 1 and 2, but since then Laredo has observed a decrease,” said Richard Chamberlain. “Right now, more than ever is when Laredo needs a larger volume of vaccines being allocated. Official correspondence has been sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services for more vaccines to be sent to Laredo to safeguard our population.”

The Laredo health director Richard Chamberlain says the city has requested the state to allocate vaccines specifically to public health entities, large pharmacy chains and federal qualified health care center.

City manager Robert Eads says the city is ready to host a mass event but it can not happen if there are no vaccines to administer.

“We can only do as much as the resource is available to us. Its not about the capability because we have the capability, we don’t have the resources.”

Eads says community members can also help by contacting state and federal officials who are the ones who hold the power over vaccine distribution.

“Once they start hearing if from constituents and not elect-officials, maybe things will change. It does not mean we will stop pressing but if we all press together we can all have a different outcome.”

Chamberlain says next week’s vaccine allocation only brings 1,500 doses in total to Laredo.

Of those 1,500 according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 1,200 will go the Laredo Health Department, 100 to Employee Health and Wellness at the City Hall annex, 100 to Gateway Community Health Center, and another 100 to Vara Hospice.

Eads says some people obtained vaccine appointments for April, he says those are valid as long as you have a confirmation email or number.

On Wednesday, only healthcare workers will be able to access Laredo’s online portal to set up a vaccine appointment.

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