Galveston County COVID-19 vaccine registration closed after appointments fill in minutes

HOUSTON – All available appointments for the Galveston County Health District vaccine clinic have been filled and registration is now closed, authorities say.

The demand for COVID-19 vaccines is so high it crashed the Galveston County Health District’s website Monday morning as people rushed to book one of a thousand appointments. Every slot was filled in less than 20 minutes, according to Dr. Philip Keiser, the local health authority for Galveston County.

“We had so many people sign up that it crashed the system,” Dr. Keiser said. “At one point, we had 2,500 calls per minute to the call center and 20,000 hits per minute on the website. So, the demand to get vaccines is huge and it really exceeds our supply.”

Dr. Keiser said this is the new normal. He said the state only sends the Galveston County Health District 6,000 vaccines a week, which non-Galveston County residents are vying for too.

Dr. Keiser said once people have their vaccine appointment the rest of the process will go smoothly. He referred to the county’s first mass vaccination last Saturday in League City as an example. More than 800 people received a Pfizer shot at the drive-thru site at Walter Hall Park.

Keiser said it was a success because there were short lines and it was by appointment only. He said county officials planned heavily for the event and made sure to observe how other counties launched their vaccination hubs.

“The one thing we did not want to have is people waiting in line for hours and coming up and finding that we’d run out of vaccines, so that’s why we made it by appointment only,” he said.

Dr. Keiser said the going forward, the county will create a waiting list for those unable to schedule an appointment online.

“The county judge’s office is looking to contracting out to a professional call center that can handle the volumes and that will allow people who can’t use a computer to call in and to make an appointment,” he added.

Vaccinations will be administered Tuesday through Friday of this week for those who were able to schedule an appointment on the county’s website Monday morning.

Please visit www.gchd.org/covidvaccine for more information on future appointments. Please call 409-227-8934 to speak with an operator.

You must have an appointment to be vaccinated. No walk-ups will be allowed. Currently, only health care professionals and those in Phase 1B (people 65 and older or those 18 and older with certain medical conditions) are being vaccinated.

Vaccines will be administered at the Galveston County Health District in Texas City.

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