The Texas Department of State Health Services announced March 23 it would open eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to all adult Texans beginning March 29. Hays County echoed the announcement a short time later in its own news release.

Preregistration for a vaccine appointment with Hays County can be done online, and the state will launch its own online signup portal in the near future. A toll-free phone number will also be established by the state to assist with signups.

Appointments are still required by Hays County.

“Individuals on the list should still expect to receive an email, text and/or phone call or voicemail with their appointment information,” said Tammy Crumley, director of the Hays County Health Department.

Crumley voiced her support for the new eligibility criteria in the county's release.

“Hays County will continue to work with our valued partners, including physicians and pharmacies, as well as Live Oak Health Partners, to get people vaccinated,” she said.

DSHS asked vaccine providers to prioritize appointments for older adults, especially people age 80 or older, but said vaccine supplies were expected to increase next week.

Earlier this month, the DSHS opened the vaccine to people between ages 50-64.

Hays County said it has fully vaccinated some 25,000 people with first and second doses of the vaccine, most of which were the Pfizer vaccine. According to DSHS, Texas has fully vaccinated more than 3 million people, with 9.3 million doses administered in total.

“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death – such as older adults.”