COVID-19 vaccination of nearly 1,000 people began Thursday in Schertz, but issues for some Guadalupe County residents trying to sign up began days earlier.
Some people interested in receiving the first of a two-shot vaccination were unable to complete the online registration in time to secure a slot. Others said it was not easy, but they successfully registered.
“We had three of us trying at the same time,” Jennifer Wegman said of the process she, her mother and her friend endured to sign up Wegman’s mother Jeanette Wegman. “My girlfriend got in and signed her up.”
The Wegmans of Cibolo were in line before the noon opening of a vaccination clinic at the Schertz Civic Center. Authorities announced the clinic Jan. 15 with 975 spots.
Registration began Jan. 19 with a vast majority logging on to their computers for a shot at those openings on Signupgenius. Officials prohibited walk-in appointments, so anyone hoping to receive the vaccine needed to get picked before the doors opened.
William Bechtel, of Marion, said he had his computer open and ready to go well before the site went live. He got to the online site, selected a time slot and seemed to be sailing right along the right track for inoculation. But within seconds, something went wrong, Bechtel said.
“I clicked it and it sent me to another page to start filling out my info; I hit auto form and it filled it all out,” he said about his experience trying to get a slot. “I was looking down the page to make sure I had everything. Before I could hit the submit button, it kicked me off and said somebody else had taken that spot.”
The program suggested he go back and try to secure a different spot. That didn’t work either, Bechtel said.
“When I went back, all of them were taken,” he said. “Something was a little fishy. How many people could register in two minutes?”
In fact, all of the slots were filled within two minutes, Guadalupe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder said. He’s heard the complaints and theories about why, but said it boiled down to very many people registering for just a few slots.
Registration for other vaccine clinics or hubs may experience similar issues, Pinder said.
“Sign up for any one of these sites is going to be difficult for anyone,” he said. “There was only 975 slots available with over 130,000 people eligible to receive the vaccine. … It’s a supply and demand issue.”
A line started forming about 11:30 Thursday at the civic center. As folks stood about six feet apart and leaned against the building, volunteers inside hurried to ready everything for the clinic.
While she waited, Jeanette Wegman said she was relieved to finally have an appointment for vaccination. She had tried with clinics in San Antonio and the grocery store chain H-E-B to no avail.
Receiving the vaccine will mean freedom she hasn’t enjoyed in about a year, Jeanette said.
“The corona has kept me at home,” she said. “It’d be nice to go out to eat. It’d be nice to grocery shop. All my Christmas shopping was online.”
Patricia Dikes, of Seguin, said she and her husband avoided the computer route and she secured a reservation for the first round of the vaccine Thursday.
She made a telephone call and received help signing up from very “pleasant young people,” Dikes said.
“I’d like the [Schertz] mayor to know the young people we talked to on the telephone were wonderful,” she said. “They were very, very helpful. I don’t do computers well.”