Harris County makes 'leftover' vaccine doses available to school district employees

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021
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ABC13's Miya Shay explains how one woman is helping to alert others when appointment slots open through social media and when you need to start checking local pharmacies for availability.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County teachers and school staff on the waiting list for COVID-19 vaccines are now being called on by Harris County Public Health if there are any "leftover" doses at the end of the day.

The program was developed by Harris County Public Health as a way to make sure no vaccine doses go to waste while vaccinating most of the frontline employees.

"The idea we started last week is that we're going to allocate our 'no show' appointments to school staff on our Tier 1A and Tier 1B waitlists," said Dr. Maria Rivera of Harris County Public Health.

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Rivera pointed out that Harris County's mass vaccination sites move locations every week, and are generally held at high school stadiums or other school facilities with large parking lots. When people fill out the Harris County Health Department's waitlist, it already asks if you are employed by a school district and which one. So, it is easy for the county computer system to pull up a list of eligible school district employees in the area where the mega-sites are.

"They have to be Tier 1A or 1B, and have to be able to go to our sites kind of quickly," said Rivera. She adds another benefit is that educators usually live nearby and can sign up quickly on their computers when they are notified of extra doses that might expire.

Harris County says it is working with all 21 school districts in the county as well as charter schools and private schools in each area. Because mega vaccine locations change from week to week, the county changes the districts they contact every week, focusing on districts where the county is using school property and where employees may live nearby.

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If you are an educator and want to make sure you are included in the "no show" vaccine doses call list, make sure you are registered in the Harris County vaccine waitlist. Specify which school district you work for from the drop-down menu. Reminder, the process will still be weighted and randomized, so only employees who qualify under state guidelines will be contacted.

"This is a way to make sure it doesn't go to waste and are always going to people that are eligible," said Rivera.

The video featured above is from a previous report.

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