Vaccinating Texas: The Outreach Needs To Get More Intentional From Here

More than a third of us have had at least one dose, while another third have expressed some vaccine hesitancy. Many in the final third of Texans may be harder to reach.

By Laura RiceApril 16, 2021 10:42 am,

Texas Standard began following listener-submitted stories about seeking the COVID-19 vaccine in early February. At that time, the vaccine had already been distributed to many health care workers and in nursing homes and had opened up to just those over 65 or with certain pre-existing conditions.

Back then, the stories were almost universally full of frustration.

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part One

Every week or so, we heard from more Texans. Some were breaking through the system, others were still frustrated.

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part Two

This is how it’s proceeded for months.

But more vaccines have made their way to Texas and the state has expanded eligibility. Now, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible. The stories of frustration and confusion have become fewer. In fact, this past week, Texas Standard only heard from one person unable to get an appointment.

Sarah Scott first shared her frustration last Friday – but by the very next Tuesday – she and her husband had their first doses in their arms.

Sarah Scott, 36, Austin: first dose

Scott doesn’t have preexisting conditions and she works from home. She had preregistered at a few different places but didn’t really start getting serious about finding an appointment until recently. And though it’s all worked out for her, she says the process overall, left something to be desired.

“I was a little overwhelmed looking at the individual providers list in Austin. It seemed like it was just going to be very time intensive to call each different provider if you weren’t a patient already. So I didn’t even go that route… So it’s kind of like, you know, do you prioritize just trying to get and the first line that you can or do you prioritize, you know, convenience if you don’t have the time?”

Scott’s observations are revealing. More than a third of Texans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. According to a University of Houston Hobby School survey taken back in January, about another third of Texans were likely to refuse the shot. That may have changed a bit by now, but what about that last third? Those who thought they might get it or weren’t sure but haven’t yet?

It may be that some are like Scott – just now entering the process and feeling a bit overwhelmed. But it may be that they are harder to reach for some reason. Perhaps they have less or no access to technology or transportation, uncommon work hours, or they may be the primary caretaker of a child or an adult with special needs and don’t have the resources to have someone take their place.

If you or someone you know is in a situation like this, we’d like to hear from you. We’re collecting stories for the radio here.

Perhaps we’ll hear from some of you – but the numbers and the stories seem to indicate that the process of vaccinating Texans and collecting their stories is going to begin to require more outreach.

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part Three.

Claudia Briseño, 42, Frisco: vaccinated

Elena Foulks, 16, Galveston: first dose

Laura Rice, 36, Dripping Springs: first dose

Sofia Parent, 67, Pflugerville: first dose

Lisa Low, 57, Lubbock: vaccinated

Grace Slayter, 26, Dallas: vaccinated

Cheryl Bakhtiari, 66, Austin: vaccinated

Nicole LeBlanc, 57, Dallas: vaccinated

Martha Frazier, 34, Austin: vaccinated

Monique B., 38, San Antonio: vaccinated

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part Four.

Jacqueline D., 85, San Antonio: vaccinated

Dallas Schwab, 26, Dallas: vaccinated

Scott Riggle, 30, Plano: vaccinated

Jamie Baird, 40, El Paso: vaccinated

Elida and Wilfredo Torres, 70s, Austin: vaccinated

Luke Stonecipher, 29, Austin: vaccinated

Max Weiss, 93, Austin: vaccinated

Edwina Baethge, 77, San Marcos: vaccinated

Tom Phillips, 67, Austin: vaccinated

Margaret, 76, Austin: vaccinated

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part Five.

Albert Scherbarth, 66, Dallas County: vaccinated

Linda Cuellar, 66, Pipe Creek: vaccinated

Lori Jacques, 39, El Paso: vaccinated

Oscar and Sue, 80s, Dallas County: vaccinated

Doug Ramey, 60, Fort Worth: vaccinated

Take us through your experience – positive or negative. You can record your story directly for the radio here.

SEE MORE: Texas Standard’s Vaccinating Texas, Part Six.

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