During our most recent COVID-19 vaccination clinic, we were able to administer vaccines to attendees within about five minutes of their arrival at the Community Center Annex. The process is much speedier than it was when we first started; attendees submit their medical information beforehand, so when they arrive, they just have to check in and get their shots.
Thanks to the teamwork of numerous agencies, combined with our new registration software, we now have the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 people a day. To date, we’ve provided about 20,500 first doses of the vaccine, with 8,300 people now fully vaccinated through the hub.
We’ve cleared out our waitlist at multiple recent clinics, and we’re continuing to see short wait times even as we move to vaccinating the general public. If you sign up now, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get vaccinated within a week.
You can sign up by visiting victoriawaitlist.com or calling 888-966-5640. We encourage residents to use the website to avoid delays. If you are homebound because of a medical condition and can’t come to the Community Center, visit homeboundlist.com to sign up for an at-home vaccination from the Victoria Fire Department.
Residents might remember that when we first began operating as a vaccine hub, we were only able to offer 1,000 shots per week. We’ve brought this number up by analyzing our process and finding small ways to increase our efficiency, from directing traffic in the parking lots to streamlining the check-in process when people arrive.
I want to give a huge thank-you to all the agencies that have helped with this effort, including the Victoria Office of Emergency Management, the City of Victoria Fire Department, the Victoria County Fire Department, the Victoria Police Department, the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, Victoria County and the City of Victoria; medical providers like DeTar Healthcare System, Citizens Medical Center, the Gulf Bend Center and Post Acute Medical Specialty Hospital; state groups like the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Division of Emergency Management; the U.S. Air Force; and volunteers from Victoria College, the University of Houston-Victoria, the Victoria Fire Corps and the Victoria County Sheriff’s Auxiliary, as well as numerous other volunteers who’ve provided assistance.
Many of the local agencies named above have worked together during previous crises for more than a decade, from Hurricane Harvey to the Ebola outbreak. Our experience and our trust in each other has helped us to provide exceptional service during this newest challenge. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from residents, and even the state agencies helping us have commented that our clinics are among the best-run that they’ve seen in the state.
We’re still looking for ways to improve our process. Even shaving seconds off our average appointment time could allow us to administer dozens more shots per day. That being said, we’re also hopeful that these large-scale clinics won’t be needed for much longer.
As more residents are vaccinated and production ramps up around the nation, vaccine supply will exceed demand. Eventually, people will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine as easily as they would get a flu shot or another routine immunization, with no need for waitlists or vaccine hubs. But until that day comes, we’ll continue working with our partner agencies to promptly administer the vaccine to anyone who needs it.
David Gonzales is the director of the Victoria County Public Health Department.