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Austin Public Health to release 4K vaccine appointments Thursday, including for group 1C

Friday, March 19, 2021 by Marisa Charpentier, KUT

Austin Public Health reopened Covid-19 vaccine appointment signups Thursday night, after technical problems Monday left many people frustrated and still waiting for a shot.

APH will be releasing about 4,000 appointments to eligible individuals, including those in the 1C group, according to a spokesperson for the department. The 1C group, people 50 and older, became eligible for the vaccine in Texas on Monday.

The online queue for first dose appointments opened Thursday at 5:45 p.m. Those eligible are placed in a “waiting room” and given a number in line. Then when it’s their turn, they can begin scheduling an appointment. People who are able to book a slot are then sent a confirmation by text or email. (To participate in this process, you have to first register in the system.)

On Monday, users were unable to move past the appointment confirmation page. The glitch forced APH to cut the scheduling process short, and only 2,300 appointments got scheduled.

“After identifying the issue, we are testing the system to have a successful first dose appointment release on Thursday evening, Mar. 18,” APH said in a statement Wednesday.

APH has been providing updates and tips on the scheduling process on its Twitter feed and on this FAQ page.

APH announced last week that it would be releasing appointments every Monday evening, and if it has vaccines left over, on Thursday evenings as well. The number of appointments depends on how many vaccines the department is allocated by the state and the timing of those shipments.

So far, Austin Public Health has been getting 12,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine each week. At the start of the week, APH said it had more than 200,000 people in the 1A and 1B groups registered in its system who still needed an appointment. That doesn’t include people 50 and older and school and child care workers, who are also eligible to sign up for an appointment.

Photo caption: Hundreds wait in line for a Covid-19 vaccine at a Northeast Austin distribution site in January.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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