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Some in Houston area eligible to get vaccinated frustrated with lack of access to coronavirus shot

HOUSTON – Some Houston-area residents are frustrated with the current vaccination process and the availability of appointments.

Joe Hall, 75, said he tried to make an appointment at a Kroger in Tomball but was told the doses they had in stock were being reserved.

“As I remember, the number was 80, but they said they were holding them in reserve for healthcare workers,” Hall said.

Hall believes all health care workers have the right to be vaccinated if they choose, but he doesn’t think any doses of the vaccine should be reserved.

“I’m on the state website now, and it says the 1A and 1B (people) should be vaccinated and no reserves, and what you’re doing is contrary to state guidance,” said Hall.

Hall said he doesn’t worry about himself, but he is concerned for others who may be in his age group and at serious risk

Dr. Marla Fielder, Kroger’s pharmacy director, said they are working to obtain additional doses of the vaccine and would try to serve those in need when that was possible.

“All of the vaccine that we have received so far, the 6,800 doses that we received, have already been allocated to many 1A workers and then we have quite a few 1B patients,” Fielder said.

Others claim they have had issues making appointments with area hospitals and clinics.

In a statement, UTHealth said:

“UT Physicians, the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, is beginning the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to at-risk patient groups by invitation only following state and federal guidance. Based upon the number of available doses, we are sending invitations via email and text messaging to patients. If patients do not have an email address or the ability to receive a text message, UT Physicians will personally call the patient’s number on file.”

UTMB Health also issued a statement about its vaccine supply:

“It is true that UTMB did not receive a vaccine shipment this week. As previously stated, UTMB does not control the supplies and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. People who were scheduled to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were able to do so through Tuesday. After that, we unfortunately had to postpone previously scheduled first shots. We will be contacting affected patients. Individuals who were previously scheduled to receive their second dose at this time will still receive that shot in order to properly complete the vaccination process in a timely manner.”