Vaccination efforts ramp up in Central Texas but frustrations remain

After a week during which vaccination efforts in Central Texas were hampered by glitches and backlogs, things now appear to be headed in the right direction--though people in our area continue to be frustrated by the difficulty of booking an appointment. 

However, a new drive-through vaccination program in Austin has some optimistic. Starting Saturday, the Toney Burger Center in South Austin will be home to Austin Public Health’s first drive-through vaccination site. APH will be doing a pilot program this weekend, where they expect to vaccinate 1,500 people. Once the site is fully ramped up, they expect to have the capacity to give shots to double that number going forward. 

Up to this point, all Austin Public Health vaccine sites have been walk-in operations because drive-through sites require more staff and volunteers, but officials say they are now equipped to handle it. Shots will be given by appointment only and you can get more information about appointments here



Meanwhile, Austin Public Health is now back on track after their vaccine signup portal crashed Monday night, kicking thousands of people out of line. Thursday night, people were able to log back on and book one of 4500 appointments. Officials say all of those appointments have now been filled. After initially saying it could take weeks for people in Group 1C (ages 50 to 64) to be able to sign up, now folks in all three vaccination groups can sign up on the APH portal. 

Despite the progress, Austin and Travis County continue to deal with a backlog of people waiting for vaccines, largely caused by a supply issue. Officials with Austin Public Health say they have the capacity to vaccinate up to 37,000 people every week, but since January they have been getting an average of just 12,000 Moderna first doses every week, followed by a batch of second doses four weeks later. 

In Texas overall, just under three million people have been fully vaccinated as of Friday morning, with about 5.9 million having received at least one dose. Our state still lags behind many others in terms of doses administered per capita.