Vaccinating Texas: Why Signing Up For A Vaccine Isn’t Like Waiting In Line At The Grocery Store

With all Texans over the age of 16 now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Texas Standard is asking listeners about their experiences with finding and getting the shot.

By Laura RiceApril 2, 2021 12:56 pm,

More than 25% of Texans have had at least one COVID-19 shot. About 14% are fully vaccinated. It’s a slow and steady tick in the right direction but Texas is still lagging at the bottom in these numbers compared to other states.

The Texans we heard from this past week confirmed some trends we’ve seen emerging in our vaccine tracking project.

Claudia Briseño, 42, Frisco – first dose

“I have diabetes as a preexisting condition. And for a while now, my husband and I have been trying to get vaccinated through the city of Frisco.”

The available appointments filled up quickly. That’s when Briseno and her husband took another step we’ve heard about from a lot of Texans – they looked outside their immediate community and drove about 20 miles to a pharmacy in Richardson.

It was through my husband’s brother. He found out about a pharmacy that had an excess of vaccines and they wanted to use them… So my husband and I drove there, filled out their vaccine form, and we were in and out of there and 20 minutes.”

We’ve heard from Texans who have traveled from Dallas to Amarillo, or Austin to Corpus Christi to get their vaccine. Early on in the vaccine distribution process, this was frowned upon. But the general feeling these days seems to be, just get it if and where you can.

Also like others we’ve heard from who have broken through the frustration and confusion, Briseño chalks up her experience to luck.

“I do believe that we were lucky in the sense that we knew somebody that had a way of getting the vaccine.”

Elena Foulks, 16, Galveston – first dose

That lucky feeling is multiplied for those who’ve only just become eligible for the vaccine.

“I got a text message actually saying I could sign up for a waiting list. So I did. And then a couple of weeks later, I got an email about open appointment times and telling me to schedule an appointment. So I showed my mom and she set up an appointment and I got my first shot and it was really like a hassle-free, they-came-to-me process and I’m not really sure how it happened.”

And with this lucky feeling comes, again, feelings of confusion and maybe even a little guilt.

I didn’t actively have to try really hard to get my vaccine. I just, I don’t really know. It was kind of strange. Like all my other friends, only one of them has it, has the first shot and everyone else is trying to get it. But I don’t know. And they’re asking me for help, but I don’t really know what I did to get it before everyone else.

Laura Rice, 36, Dripping Springs — first dose

I got my first dose on Monday – the first day of my eligibility. I got an appointment, like Claudia Briseño, thanks to a tip from my husband’s friend. Otherwise, I was expecting just to wait my turn in line.

But that’s the thing. There’s not just one line. And it’s not like the grocery store where you can easily see how many people are in which line and if you hop from one to the other you lose your place in the old line. So if you’re like one of my coworkers and only checking one place, it’s likely you’re not really doing what you need to do which is, ultimately, be a part of everyone getting a vaccine as quickly as possible.

But the flip side is this – are there still especially at-risk people who haven’t gotten vaccinated? Are there people who have been putting their names on every list but who still haven’t made it to the top of any of them?

That’s exactly why we’ve created a space for you to share your vaccine story. I hope you will.

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

Sofia Parent, 67, Pflugerville – first dose

Lisa Low, 57, Lubbock – first dose

Grace Slayter, 26, Dallas – first dose

Cheryl Bakhtiari, 66, Austin – vaccinated

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

Nicole LeBlanc, 57, Dallas – vaccinated

Martha Frazier, 34, Austin – vaccinated

Monique B., 38, San Antonio – vaccinated

Jacqueline D., 85, San Antonio – first dose

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

Dallas Schwab, 26, Dallas – vaccinated

Scott Riggle, 30, Plano – vaccinated

Jamie Baird, 40, El Paso – first dose

Elida and Wilfredo Torres, 70s, Austin – vaccinated

Luke Stonecipher, 29, Austin – vaccinated

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

Max Weiss, 93, Austin – vaccinated

Edwina Baethge, 77, San Marcos – vaccinated

Tom Phillips, 67, Austin – first dose

Margaret, 76, Austin – first dose

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.

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