Two options are presently available to Hays County residents looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Tammy Crumley, director of the Hays County Local Health Department.

In a Jan. 13 news release, Crumley said the first option is for residents to speak with their personal medical providers to determine if the vaccine can be administered through one of the companies in Hays County with access to it, such as H-E-B or local pharmacies.

The second option is to preregister to receive the vaccine through one of the state's hubs, which include Travis County and Bexar County.

HCLHD has been approved to receive the vaccine, and Crumley said in the release that she expects a small allotment of does to be sent to Hays County in the near future to be administered under Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines.

Phase 1A of the state health department's vaccination plan focuses on health care workers. Phase 1B prioritizes those over age 65 and people over age 16 with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. Conditions that qualify include but are not limited to the following

  • Cancer

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies

  • Solid organ transplantation

  • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

According to the DSHS, Phase 1B also includes communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other chronic diseases; teachers and school staff; social workers; workers who maintain critical infrastructure supporting the Texas economy; and other front-line workers unable to work remotely.

Anyone who believes they qualify under the 1B definitions may preregister for the vaccine, but Crumley said in the news release that doing so would not guarantee an appointment to receive the vaccine.

“Because the vaccine supply is still limited, we’re asking the public to be patient and understand that we want everyone who wants the vaccine to get it, but it may be days or weeks before an appointment is available,” she said.

While waiting for the vaccine, Crumley urged Hays County residents to continue taking proactive measures to avoid infections, such as avoiding public places, hand washing and social distancing.

“Stay home when possible,” she said. “By avoiding public places, particularly if you are in a higher risk category, we can begin to slow the spread of the virus and protect those who are most vulnerable.”