Updated 1 p.m. Feb. 2

The Fort Bend County Health & Human Services COVID-19 vaccine preregistration system has reached capacity and is now closed, according to the county. Residents with questions about preregistration, the COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 in general are encouraged to call the vaccination hotline at 832-471-1373.

First posted 10:30 a.m. Feb. 2

With 12,000 new vaccines in hand and with plans to open more vaccination sites soon, Fort Bend County is making strides in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, county officials said Feb. 2.

“We are going in the right direction,” County Judge KP George said during a press conference on Feb. 2.

Fort Bend County received 12,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 1, George said, which will be administered to residents as soon as possible. Additionally, since Fort Bend County has been designated as a vaccination hub, George said, vaccines should be arrovomg on a consistent basis.

The county has been administering about 1,400 vaccines per day at its one vaccination site, George said. With the new 12,000 vaccines, he said the county expects that number to double or even triple.

“We will continue our effort to vaccinate as many citizens as we can,” he said.

The county has announced plans to open more vaccinations sites soon. More specifically, officials hope to open at least one vaccination site in each of Fort Bend County’s four precincts, George said.

Hopefully, those additional sites will be confirmed soon, said Mark Flathouse, Fort Bend County’s emergency management coordinator. Adding the new sites in different precincts should allow members of the public to get vaccinated at whichever location is closest to them, he said.

“We're reviewing the sites, working with different partners, trying to make sure that everything is in line,” he said.

The county reopened registration Feb. 2 for residents for one of the 12,000 new vaccines through its online portal at www.fbchealth.org.

Only individuals who qualify under Phases 1A or 1B of the state’s vaccination plan may register at this time. Residents who fall into those categories include front-line health care workers, residents at long-term care facilities, residents age 65 and older or those with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19.

The registration process for Fort Bend County residents has changed slightly, said Rita Obey, a spokesperson for Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. Previously, after a resident completed the registration form, they would need to wait for someone to give them a call to schedule their appointment. Now, Obey said, after a resident finishes the online registration form, they will receive a message telling them that in the coming weeks, they will receive an email with a personalized link for them to schedule their own appointment.

This change allows residents to schedule an appointment at their convenience rather than waiting on a call, Obey said.

“We know that everybody is, you know, kind of antsy about waiting on a call sometimes, and we understand,” she said. “So we've wanted to make that process a little more amenable to what the public was asking.”

Additionally, residents who have already received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine through the county will soon receive an email or a phone call regarding an appointment for their second dose, Obey said. The call will come from an unknown or private number, she said, so it is important that residents answer the phone.

As always, Obey said, residents with questions or concerns should call the county’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 832-471-1373.

Several area hospitals, including the Memorial Hermann and Methodist Hospital systems, also received new allotments of vaccines Feb. 1, George said. The total allotment across all of county partners, including the 12,000 allocated to the county, was about 30,000 or even more, he said.

Because the county's registration queue will likely fill up soon, George urged residents to try different avenues, such as local hospitals, to get their vaccine as soon as possible.

Once vaccinated, residents must continue following guidelines put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention until herd immunity is achieved, George said.

“Please, do your part, and we are doing our part,” he said. “Let's all help together.”