Harris Health now has enough vaccine appointments to last the week

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Less than a week after a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine forced the cancellation of hundreds of vaccination appointments for Harris Health System, the group appears to be back in business.

According to an update provided to ABC13 on Monday, Harris Health now has enough vaccines for appointments through the week.

The county and state stepped up after ABC13 and other entities exposed the problem.

Last week, officials said a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine impacted Harris County's public supplies of the doses. Thursday afternoon, the safety net health group's CEO announced they would have to cancel hundreds of vaccination appointments at seven Harris Health locations.

Speaking with ABC13's Ted Oberg, Dr. Esmaeil Porsa said at the time, "This is no way to plan. This is no way to run a business, much less a healthcare business. But unfortunately this is, this is a situation where you're dealing with."

By Friday, health officials told ABC13's Ted Oberg they planned to transfer 1,000 doses of the vaccine to Harris Health's hospitals, including LBJ and Ben Taub, to keep them operating, but those doses were not yet on-hand.

WATCH: Harris Health System CEO says vaccine supply has been 'erratic'
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"It's not about me, it's about the patients," said Harris Health System CEO Dr. Esmaeil Porsa.

READ MORE: LBJ and Ben Taub make staffing adjustments to deal with COVID-19 surge

Harris Health has vaccinated roughly 9,000 patients in Group 1B. None of them have received a second dose and Harris Health does not have their second doses on hand. They say they've been assured they will be sent.

Porsa said patients whose appointments are being cancelled will be contacted by Harris Health.

ABC13 asked Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse about the Harris Health System's lack of supply and said it largely is due in part to those making the vaccine.

"It sounds like it's really the limit of manufacturer," explained Persse. "Moderna and Pfizer are both ramping up production, so that's going to take a little while. I don't know exactly when. I'm told it's six to eight weeks, maybe, that the amount of vaccines available to the United States as a whole, and therefore each individual state will increase."

On Monday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the county is opening a waitlist for the coronavirus vaccine so that people who are high priority don't get overlooked.

Hidalgo added getting the vaccine shouldn't be like the "Hunger Games."

It shouldn't be who is quickest to sign up. Everyone should have a fair shot at getting the vaccine, Hidalgo said.

Even though anyone can register, there is priority as to who gets the shot first. Right now, people in group 1A or 1B are eligible for the shot. Anyone can pre-register, but only people in those groups are going to get appointments for now.

The waitlist is set to go live Tuesday afternoon on the ReadyHarris website. If you don't have internet access, you can call 832-927-8787 to get on the list.

Harris Co. COVID-19 vaccine waitlist opens this afternoon

The video above is from a previous report on the COVID-19 vaccine shortage in Harris Health.

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