13 Investigates: Houston-area residents 'hurting' in low income, minority areas without vaccines

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As soon as vaccines were available to her age group, 85-year-old Elia Mata said she began calling every clinic and hospital in town. She doesn't own a computer or have internet, and said that was her only outlet for trying to get a vaccine.

READ ALSO: Data shows which Houston neighborhoods have more access to COVID-19 vaccine

"They would put me [on hold] for 20 minutes and then they say 'Call back or leave your number,'" Mata said. "Only one agency called me back and told me, 'Mrs. Mata, I'm sorry. We don't know where we're going to get them.'"

Even if the Matas wanted to drive and wait in line to try and get a vaccine, there aren't any locations nearby. The couple lives in one of 41 Harris County zip codes without a single vaccine provider.

More than 27% of residents in their neighborhood do not have internet access, 93% of residents are minorities and nearly 1 in every four don't have insurance. The median income in the Mata's neighborhood is $20,000 less than the county's median.

13 Investigates' analysis found the couple is not alone. More than 1 million Harris County residents live in vaccine deserts, neighborhoods without a vaccine provider that has received doses from the state. Those residents without a provider also have less access to the internet, less insurance coverage and make less money.

RELATED: New numbers show Black, Hispanic communities under-vaccinated

Countywide, 290,311 residents have received at least one vaccine dose.

After several failed attempts, the Matas were finally able to get vaccinated with the help of a county office they volunteer with.

Still, the city says its department for aging residents has received more than 70,000 calls. Tens of thousands of elderly residents remain on waiting lists to get a vaccine, including those without access to the internet to sign up for themselves.

"This city, as big as it is, to have all these people, and they haven't gotten the vaccine yet and they're hurting. You've got to give them peace of mind and hope," Mata said.

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