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The COVID vaccine wait list

Good idea, and about time.

Judge Lina Hidalgo

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Monday afternoon a new COVID-19 vaccine waitlist, in an effort to ensure those who are high priority don’t get overlooked and make for a smoother process.

Hidalgo explained the basics of how the waitlist will work. Hidalgo was joined by Dr. Sherri Onyiego, the interim local health authority for Harris County Public Health.

The waitlist is said to be weighted and randomized, meaning the website won’t necessarily favor whoever has the quickest internet connection. Once the portal opens Tuesday, everyone will be able to register.

If you fall under the 1A, 1B or seniors groups, then your registration will be weighted for priority, and it will then be randomized within the priority list.

The launch of this new portal and waitlist expands the previous process by allowing eligible residents to sign up for vaccines on their own directly, according to a press release from the county.

Eligible residents without internet access can also call 832 927-8787 once the portal is live to be placed on the waitlist.

The new system starts today:

That’s a good approach, and honestly it’s how we should be doing this nationwide. I’ve heard plenty of stories of people with good Internet skills or just the right about of persistence and life-hacking who have helped people sign up for vaccines, but it really can’t and shouldn’t be this hard. And honestly, even for the folks like me who are closer to the back of the line, just being able to register now and then wait to be called when it is our turn would likely relieve a lot of anxiety out there. This starts today and if it works as well as I expect it will, I hope other counties will follow suit. The Chron and Houston Public Media have more.

Meanwhile, on a related note.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing the state to refine its criteria for COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, saying that whittling down the list may better prioritize vulnerable Texans and clear up confusion over when shots will actually be available.

The state is currently offering the vaccine to frontline workers and vulnerable Texans, a group of more than 9 million people — even though the state is only receiving about 300,000 doses a week. That numerical reality has made for a confusing and frustrating process for Texans eligible for a shot, with many unable to find available doses or unsure where to look with demand far exceeding supply.

“Texans need to have a better understanding of the time it will take for everyone to be vaccinated in order to reduce lines, confusion and frustration,” Patrick wrote in a Thursday letter to the state’s Expert Vaccination Allocation Panel.

It will probably be May at the earliest before all members of that first priority group have been immunized, said Dr. David Lakey, a member of the state’s vaccine panel, in an interview this week with Hearst Newspapers. The Texans currently eligible are included in groups 1A — health care workers and nursing home residents — and 1B, those over 65 and anyone 16 or older with certain pre-existing medical conditions.

[…]

Patrick suggested creating subgroups within 1B over the next several weeks — perhaps by first taking two weeks to vaccinate those 75 and older, a group of about 1.5 million. Then, he said, a subgroup of roughly 65,000 teachers and school staff over 65 could become eligible.

“This would help give people an idea of reasonable expectations and reduce wait times and frustration each week,” Patrick wrote. “Right now, in many cities and counties when an announcement of available vaccinations is made, website sign-up pages crash and phone calls go unanswered.”

Seems reasonable, and as above it makes you wonder why no one had thought of this before. Including and especially Greg Abbott, who did not come up with this idea despite being the immovable object on everyone’s COVID plans. We’ll see what happens with this.

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23 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    As his parting angry outburst, Pres. Trump did something to stop the vaccine distribution. As of a few days ago, the news was saying that hospitals are running out of vaccinations. Of course the new president has not done much to distribute the vaccines. He has a goal of one million per day, but hasn’t done anything to get to that goal. In fact he even said that we can’t do anything to change the trajectory of this virus. That’s a big shift from when we said that Trump could have stopped it by now, if he just did something. The story of Canute was forgotten. Now, the news doesn’t even say anything about Biden giving up the fight and letting the virus run wild. He’s been busy with other matters.

    Meanwhile, Biden did come up with a travel ban and a Buy American policy. He’s more like Trump than most will admit.

  2. Manny says:

    Jason, Trump toadie, I see you are telling lies again.

  3. Lobo says:

    Hochman: The “Buy American policy” is a form of economic nationalism, and is anti-free-market/free trade. It basically means that America (government procurement entities) will be paying more for same quality goods or same price for lower quality, rather then going for the best deal.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad policy in all respects, but the alternative purposes/objectives should be spelled out overtly, and the costs acknowledged.
    It could also lead to retaliation at the international stage if the own-nation favoritism does not violate WTO rules and international agreements outright.

    Then there is the scenario where an equivalent product is not even available from a domestic supplier (or not in sufficient volume, for that matter).

    Example would be a foreign pandemic vaccine that is room-temperature stable and only requires one dose and can perhaps be self-administered (think drop-on-sugar-cube mode of ingestion) so that it could be mass mailed/delivered like Chris Hollins’ mail ballot application forms, which would be much easier logistics-wise than what we have now. We could even use the existing voter registration records, and have in-person distribution centers only for area denizens not registered to vote. (Though Abbott might have to emergency-suspend restriction on the permissible uses of voter registration records perhaps).

    Bottom line: The downside(s) of a/the chosen policy should be acknowledged.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Trump was an enthusiastic cheerleader for buy American, hire American. Note that Biden seems to be copying Trump’s buy American sentiments, but notably doesn’t promote HIRE American. Why would he? He’s intent on flooding a country that already has lots of people out of work, and lots of now bankrupt small businesses, with both illegal alien, and legal immigrant workers, including ramping up the Muslims and H1-B importation.

    So we’ll have more people applying for fewer jobs. Combine that with intentionally putting people out of work, like the thousands formerly toiling away on the KeystoneXL, and I can’t see how this works out to be anything less than fantastic for the welfare state, as we make more people dependent on the government to survive, AKA, make more leftist voters. Bonus: All those newly jobless people can now pursue their real avocations, as Nancy Pelosi told us was the great thing about being jobless.

  5. Manny says:

    Bill, you and your fascist party just don’t give up. Know the difference between the fascist and racist party? I didn’t think so, cause there ain’t no difference. But it seems there more of those commenting here than in the fascist blogs.

    Keystone pipeline will have, drum roll, 12 full-time jobs.

    Lobo, Jason, David, you all are party to the same racism that Bill is pushing. Don’t wonder why I refer to you’ll as fascist/racists.

  6. Per the matter at hand, Dallas’ distribution has been a zoo. Even with a distribution site in Fair Park, largely white and/or better-off minorities got most the vaccine there.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Why not discuss job losses with all the welders, equipment operators, x-ray techs, supervisors, landmen, tree trimmers, etc. that all DID just lose their jobs. That’s before we even get to the ripple effect. I know someone whose business involves making flanges. They just lost a contract thanks to Joe’s edict. Real flange makers lose real jobs, all so Warren Buffet can continue running his trains, which, by the way, is a lot more of a pollution producer than a pipeline.

    Are you being paid by Warren Buffet to astroturf here, Manny? Why else would you show such disdain for blue collar workers, Manny? Did your wife cheat on you with a welder? Your glee at seeing American citizens lose jobs seems very personal, Manny.

  8. Jason Hochman says:

    Lobo, you are correct. Why should we be forced to buy an American product if it is inferior to one made elsewhere. I was only pointing out that Biden is disturbingly more like Trump than we knew.

    Also, he has walked back his tough talk about stopping this pandemic in its tracks. Easier to sit on the sideline and criticize than it is to get in office and actually do something.

    Since Biden blamed Trump for each and every Covid death, let’s hope that Biden does the right thing and accepts blame for those in the future. I would hope that he ask Harris to resign, and then he could appoint Bernie VP and then resign himself, leaving Bernie as president, so that real change could begin. Or maybe do the same with Pence, who would be a good president.

    The impeachment is another waste of time. Trump is out of office and Democrats know he won’t be convicted. I suspect Democrats would love Trump to run in 2024. He would win the nomination and then the Democrats, with the help of the media, would win. Trump only has one channel (FOX) but the Democrats have all the others.

  9. David Fagan says:

    Manny = Qanon

  10. Manny says:

    David= fascist/racist

  11. Nancy says:

    I’ve been trying to register myself and my husband on the new and “wonderful” covid vaccine waitlist for more than 6 hours. I continue to get site under maintenance error or I can complete the form, but it won’t let me submit it . I finally called the number provided and after about an hour I got a recording telling me to press 1 and someone would register me. With bated breath, I waited with excitement! Suddenly, a recorded voice came on and said, “All operators are busy. Call back later.”

  12. David Fagan says:

    Manny,

    Slowly put down the comments section and calmly step away from the blog…..

  13. C.L. says:

    @Lobo… re: “…think drop-on-sugar-cube mode of ingestion.” As a child of the 70’s, I like what you did there.

  14. Manny says:

    As long as fascist/racist people like you spread lies to attempt to topple our country, I have no reason to stop commenting.

    You, David Fagan, want a grenade to blow up Washington, thus you wrote.

    David = fascist/racist

  15. David Fagan says:

    Manny = Q

  16. Marc says:

    Am I the only one here who is still smacking his forehead over the fact the Dan Patrick came up with a good idea? That has to be a first.

  17. Manny says:

    David, I think you are on the verge of a mental breakdown, so in the interest of your health, I will ignore whatever you write for a while.

  18. David Fagan says:

    Manny,

    You are the anonymous Q. Trying to produce fascists and racists by accusing people of being fascists and racists is devious.

  19. Jack says:

    1/27/21 Almost 80 years old with rheumatoid arthritis & take immunosuppression drugs.. Am I signed up for the Harris County Covid vaccine wait list? NOT A CLUE.

    I went through the online sign-up process twice. The first time, after answering all of the questions, I got to the enter point & click on the enter icon–nothing happened, just the enter icon turned gray. The 2nd time I clicked on the enter icon and a blue whirling circle started. About a minute later the circle went away but there was no information as to whether or not I was signed up. I suspect both attempts were unsuccessful.

    By the way, at almost 80 years old, what does my mother’s name have to do with whether or not I can get on a Covid vaccine wait list?

  20. Fritz Kraut says:

    Re: “Am I the only one here who is still smacking his forehead over the fact the Dan Patrick came up with a good idea? That has to be a first.”

    Marc: Suppose you have a good idea about how to handle vaccine rollout/demand-supply-imbalance (or got it from a non-USA source) and you share it here in the comment space, only to be called a fascist. Shortly thereafter, Dan Patrick passes on same idea to the COVID allocation panel. All of a sudden, Dan Patrick looks sane as much as moderate, but you are still branded a fascist.

    … and to Manny, the fact that LG Patrick has propagated the new idea just proves that you are a fascist because of the overlap in the substance of the policy prescription.

    What a world we populate!

    Manny: There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be an intellectual. You should try it too, rather than spouting anti-intellectualism and engaging in obsessive name-calling, which reveals more about your state of mind than it conveys about the targets of your verbal abuse (which you tellingly refer to as “rats”).

    Reading WSJ, NYT, Financial Times, The Economist, Der Spiegel (some content in English), Politico, The Hill, Texas Tribune is a good start.

  21. Jack says:

    I noticed a comment saying President Trump was negligent in acquiring doses of the Covid Vaccine.

    1. President Trump instituted Operation Warp Speed which was instrumental in developing Covid vaccines probably a year or more earlier than usual.

    2. The Trump administration reached a deal to buy 100 million doses of the Moderna Covid vaccine at a cost of about $1.5 billion dollars with an option for 400 million more does before the vaccine was even approved or known if it could be manufactured or transported or stored. It also reached a deal with Pfizer to buy 100 million doses.

    3. In all the Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has options to buy about 800 million doses of Covid vaccine. It is likely that whatever Covid vaccine Biden is acquiring now is under the obligations reached through the Trump administration.

    4. Despite the vaccines having been “approved”, we still don’t actually know that any of the vaccines will actually be as effective as stated or convey immunity for a long period of time. Additionally, there may still be manufacturing, delivery & storage problems. The vaccines don’t have an infinite shelf life; you can’t just have them sitting on the shelf forever.

    5. As of January 2021 more than 30 million doses of Covid vaccine has been shipped to the states, which are best equipped to administer the vaccines, but only about 10 million doses have been given as vaccines. The states are sitting on 20 million doses with more on the way. How many more doses can we have the states sitting on before the vaccine’s effectiveness expires? Remember that many of these vaccines have extraordinary storage requirements.

  22. […] here for the background. I assume this was mostly a first-day crush, but 49,000 people is roughly one […]

  23. Jack says:

    1/28/21. With the 3rd try finally got confirmation that I had made it onto the Harris County Covid vaccine wait list. Apparently correct that the first 2 attempts on the 27th, which did not give a final message that I was signed up, failed. The 3rd attempt did give a You are Signed up message.

    2 more points:
    **1. In the sign up process, they were given my cell phone number for contact purposes and they have my e-mail address; why do they need to know who my cell phone carrier is–why not my internet provider? No one else has ever asked for my carrier’s name. Sounds as if they are piggy backing info collection for other programs onto the Covid wait list of people who have to respond–which should not be the case.
    **2. At the beginning of the process a red warning message that Internet Explorer (IE) is not supported. Why not? IE is still used by millions of people, primarily older people who are the target audience for part 1B of the Covid vaccine program. They probably use it because they are not especially computer literate and are comfortable with IE. They might not have another browser to use. IE does what they want it to do. Many people have been so reluctant to change from IE that Microsoft has taken to Forcing them not to use IE by refusing to connect them to certain web sites or their Microsoft account if they are using IE. It seems to me that in the Covid vaccine’s potentially life & death scenario, accommodations on the Covid wait list sign up should have been made for IE users.