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Central COVID vaccine signup coming to Caldwell County

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Caldwell County residents will be able to utilize a centralized system to sign up for the COVID vaccine this week Judge Hoppy Haden announced in Commissioner’s Court on Jan. 26.

The County purchased software called Signup Genius, which will give residents wanting the vaccine a central place to sign up instead of at multiple providers.

The move will work in tandem with Caldwell County becoming a vaccine hub, something Judge Haden said is likely to occur in two weeks. Once the county becomes a hub, the local providers become a part of the hub. The county will keep the waiting list and once the vaccines are allocated to the providers, the county sends the providers the people from the list.  

The county applied to be a hub weeks ago but were the only county surrounding Austin that wasn’t approved. In a Jan. 26 interview with LPR Judge Haden said there had been confusion at the Caldwell County Emergency Management Office and an application for a previous site was submitted.

“They thought that application would suffice for the hub application,” Judge Haden said. “It was not the case at all. It is a much more involved process, that has taken us almost a week to get through.”

Judge Haden said no one at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) alerted them to the issues with the application.

“We discovered our own error,” Haden said. “We never heard from them.”

Judge Haden said they reached out to Bastrop County officials, because that county also does not have a county health authority, to ensure the paperwork was done correctly.

“They gave us a copy of their plan and we modified their plan to fit our county and that’s what we will be submitting,” Haden said.

Getting a hub, and even having a centralized link is not going to be a panacea. The federal government continues to control how many doses of the vaccines each state is allocated on a weekly basis. Judge Haden said for the foreseeable, Texas will be allocated 330,000 new doses per week.

The COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) in Texas determines what providers get how many doses each week. That is determined by population, not active cases or deaths per capita.

Last week the Rural Judges Coalition, which was formed by Judge Haden, met to bring together the voices of the less populated counties frustrated by the lack of vaccines being allocated to them. They are putting together a letter arguing for representation on the EVAP. That will be sent in the coming weeks. Until then, the county continues to be at the mercy of the panel.

“We will get more than we have been getting just by doing it with the providers, but we won’t necessarily get 1,000, and we won’t necessarily get anything,” Haden said at Commissioners Court. “It all depends on what that panel decides to do.”

He continued: “We ask that everyone be patient. We are doing everything in our power to get as many vaccines as we can into the county.”

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