Vaccinating Texas: Experiences Are Mixed But Seem Better In Dallas Than In Austin

Cold temperatures and dangerous driving conditions have limited already scarce access to COVID-19 vaccines. Still, we continue to hear from many who are unable to even get on a list for a future appointment.

By Laura RiceFebruary 16, 2021 9:50 am,

Texas Standard is collecting stories from across the state about individual journeys to getting COVID-19 vaccinations. We want to hear the positive as well as the negative. If you’re currently eligible or are trying to secure a vaccine for a loved one, share your story here.

Oscar and Sue, 80s, Dallas County: Vaccinated

Their daughter, Rebecca Barnes of Houston, said her parents recently got their second dose at Fair Park in Dallas. But she did say their experience wasn’t the greatest.

“No port-a-pottys or access to bathrooms [until you get inside], and they had to wait four hours trapped in their car with full bladders,” Barnes said. “It was a very, very miserable, bladder-busting four hours.”

Albert Scherbarth, 66, Dallas County: First Dose

Scherbarth said signing up was very easy in Dallas County, and he was very impressed with his experience at Fair Park.

“Dallas County did a bang-up job of this inoculation situation here in Fair Park. … Smooth as silk. … Less than an hour.”

 

 

Linda Cuellar, 66, Pipe Creek: First Dose

Cuellar switched her primary care doctor when she found out a different provider had a vaccine supply and her original provider did not.

“And immediately received my first vaccine. I’ll be getting the second one in a couple of weeks.”

 

Lori Jacques, 39, El Paso: First Dose

As a health care worker with weekend work hours, Jacques struggled to set up an appointment for her first dose, and is feeling even less confident about getting her second dose.

“When I received the first dose, I was given a card and told that I had an appointment on the 16th and that they would call me to confirm a time,” Jacques said.

But then she heard on the news those cards weren’t actually confirmation; it was a projected date.

“Now my concern is that there won’t be a second dose available to me or my second dose will be delayed.”

Jacques said it’s all been unclear, and trying to track down answers is added stress on top of what she’s already feeling during the pandemic.

“I work with a sensitive population and I want to protect them as much as possible, as well as my family.”

Margaret, 76, Austin: Still Waiting

“I have not been able to get an appointment through Austin Public Health. It’s always busy. I always get the feedback that there are no appointments available. … I finally was able to get in and get an appointment. I thought I set it up and everything. And then, as it turns out, I had not. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to wait for some other step to happen before I signed off. So I didn’t get the appointment after all.”

Max Weiss, 93, Austin: Still Waiting

Weiss’ neighbor Calysta Latiegne said she has been trying for weeks to help him get a vaccination.

“We’ve been unsuccessful so far. I’ve got him signed up to all the different hubs in Central Texas. And I heard on KUT the other day about the veterans clinic, but when we called to get him signed up for that, their system was down. So we have not been successful so far.”

 

Luke Stonecipher, 29, Austin: Still Waiting

Stonecipher’s mother, Diane Stonecipher, said her son has multiple preexisting conditions that make him very high risk for COVID-19, including hypoxic encephalopathy, spastic quadriplegia, cortical blindness and pulmonary insufficiency. But she said the web portals where she’s trying to sign him up for a vaccine don’t really give her the options she needs to convey this risk and get him to the top of the priority list.

“Getting on the site and refreshing and refreshing and refreshing, trying to find an open appointment, but, you know, between work and his care, I just don’t have the bandwidth to just keep doing that for hours on end. … Are they, you know, picking names out of a hat? Are they picking straws? It’s really hard to know because there’s certainly people who are getting vaccines who do not meet the eligibility criteria.”

SEE MORE for Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas Part One.

Doug Ramey, 60, Fort Worth: Vaccinated
Health care worker.

Edwina Baethge, 77, San Marcos: Still Waiting
Baethge says she’s keeps trying with no luck to sign up for a vaccine.

Jamie Baird, 40, El Paso: Still Waiting
Baird hasn’t heard anything from her efforts to sign up so far.

Tom Phillips, 67, Austin – Still Waiting
Phillips just got on a list in Denton thanks to a tip from his brother. But he’ll be waiting a little longer; his list number is over 168,000, and he’s heard they’re currently about halfway to him.

If you’re currently eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas, how has your experience been? You can record your story directly for the radio here.

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