It took all of 15 minutes Tuesday for 5,000 people to claim a COVID-19 vaccine.
Guadalupe County, the city of Seguin and Guadalupe Regional Medical Center announced on Monday that the hospital was receiving 5,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations for a three-day vaccine clinic.
Registration was scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Tuesday, however, it was delayed several minutes due to technical difficulties, said Seguin Fire Marshal Greg Dreiss, who helped the city set up the Sign Up Genius registration.
“There was one setting that wasn’t correct,” he said. “It wasn’t allowing the public to see the slots. It was just a restriction that was set in there that needed to be fixed.”
He made the adjustment himself, Driess said. And then all of the 5,000 slots were filled within 15 minutes, he said. Also an influx of telephone attempts to register caused phone lines in some Guadalupe County government offices to fail.
GRMC, city of Seguin and Guadalupe County officials released a statement Monday announcing receipt of the vaccine and establishment of the clinic.
Officials will administer the COVID-19 vaccines free of charge at the Seguin Coliseum, 950 S. Austin St. in Seguin, the statement read. The clinics are scheduled 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Walk-in appointments will not be accepted.
“The COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to individuals, per state guidelines, who fall under phases 1A and 1B,” the statement read. “People who are allergic to a component of the vaccine, had any vaccine in the past 14 days, or had a monoclonal antibody infusion or convalescent plasma the past 90 days are ineligible for the vaccine.”
Prior to the joint announcement Monday, State Rep John Kuempel of Seguin announced on his Facebook page the hospital and other area providers were set to get vaccines in coming days. He and members of his staff worked hard, trying to get the Texas Department of State Health Services to steer more shots toward Seguin and the county, Kuempel said.
“We’ve all done I think a pretty steadfast job of requesting as many as we can get for House District 44,” the state House Republican said. “I think it’s helped, but there’s 150 representatives in the state all making the same calls.”
Additional clinics in Seguin will be announced as more vaccine becomes available, the joint statement read. Residents are encouraged to sign up through the Regional Emergency Alert Network to receive notifications about upcoming clinic sites at https://bit.ly/COVID-19VaccineNotify . For assistance registering for notifications, call 830-386-2219.
Along with the hospital, the state sent vaccine to other Guadalupe County sites including Schertz EMS, Kellum Family Medical in Schertz, and Seguin Family Health Center in Seguin, Kuempel said.
The Texas Department of State Health Services maintains an online dashboard detailing statewide vaccine distributions by week. For the current week 8, the dashboard lists GRMC as having received 5,000 doses, Schertz EMS with 1,000, Vellum with 975 and 100 to Seguin Family Health Center. It’s a combination of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines amounting to 7,075 doses, according to the DSHS dashboard.
“Fingers crossed, hopefully that number goes up,” Kuempel said. “Hopefully the numbers go up all through the county.”
This week, the federal government allocated 520,425 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the state of Texas including about 7,000 for Guadalupe County and 26,000 for Bexar County, he said in a social media post. People are able to schedule appointments at any hub location regardless of if they live in the county where the hub is located, the state representative said.
Kuempel and his staff speak with DSHS personnel at least once a week, and they have tried and continue to try to acquire more doses for areas he serves, he said.
“Everybody’s fighting for them,” Kuempel said. “There are 254 counties in the state and everybody wants some.”
Emily Boswell of Lago Vista said her father and his wife, who live in Seguin, want doses and she wants them to get the shots. Boswell’s father and stepmother are older residents who fall into the phase 1B category, but they haven’t been able to find doses for themselves.
“It’s hard for me to know how to best help them. They really aren’t internet savvy,” she said. “They watch a San Antonio news and I was just wondering how they would hear information about local vaccine clinics and how I could get them the information to get on some list.”
Her folks are older than 65, her father has had heart issues and high blood pressure, and driving to a larger metropolitan area in hopes of acquiring vaccination is out of the question for them, Boswell said. So news of GRMC getting 5,000 doses was welcome, she said.
“I asked [dad] would you go to San Antonio. He said, ‘Oh, no. From what I’ve seen on the news, that’s just a mad house,’” Boswell said. “When I saw locally they were going to have them, I thought that was their best bet.”
It’s been longer than a year since she’s seen her father due to the pandemic, Boswell said. She hopes to get her loved ones vaccinated and maybe get back to seeing them and doing other normal things.
Boswell is not alone in her desire, Kuempel said. Many people want to be vaccinated and have the people they care for vaccinated as well, he said.
“We just need more doses everywhere,” Kuempel said. “All around the country, everybody needs more doses.”
Anyone seeking additional information about vaccines can ask questions by emailing COVID19@co.guadalupe.tx.us or by calling 830-303-9701.