BEAUMONT, Texas — Texas health officials are facing mounting pressure to speed up the coronavirus vaccination process.
As many as 6,000 COVID-19 shots are expected to arrive this week at health departments and pharmacies across Southeast Texas.
Many people are asking how they can get their name on the waiting list, and officials are working to make the process a little easier. When vaccines first arrived in Southeast Texas, health departments worked to get them to the most vulnerable populations.
"We were actually just receiving calls from our citizens, and we were placing their names on the list," Port Arthur Health Department Director Judith Smith said. "It would be better if people could just go online and register, and that way, it'll kind of free up some of the phone calls."
Now the process is more organized, she said.
According to a chart from Texas DSHS, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will arrive at specific locations across Southeast Texas, including Brookshire Brothers, Walgreens, Walmart and county health departments.
The rollout is similar to how the Port Arthur Health Department handles flu shots, Smith said.
"The whole concept is basically the same," she said. "It's just that this is going to be on a larger scale."
A larger scale operation requires a few extra steps, Smith said. Anyone who is eligible and considering getting vaccinated at the Port Arthur Health Department will fill out a form on their website.
REGISTER HERE | Online COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration form
Then a health official will get in touch to schedule an appointment. Once the appointment is set and the applicant receives the shot, health officials said they will have to watch the patient for a few minutes to make sure everything went smoothly.
"This is a little different, because we do have to have a section for individuals who are receiving the COVID vaccine have to be monitored," Smith said.
The Port Arthur Health Department is still working through the details, but the department is ready to administer these shots of hope to as many people as possible, she said.
"I think public health just in general is prepared for something big," Smith said. "This is what we do."
As of Monday, Southeast Texas officials are still waiting for approval from the state to move forward with mass vaccination hubs.