Harris County Public Health portal for COVID-19 vaccination waitlist opens

Harris County Public Health has launched a portal for eligible residents to join a waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Residents who meet the Texas Department of State Health Services criteria for receiving a vaccine can join the waitlist for an appointment using the COVID-19 Vaccination Portal.

The waitlist is available via the vaccine information link on ReadyHarris.org and vacstrac.hctx.net. Eligible residents without internet access can also call (832) 927-8787 to be placed on the waitlist.

Harris County Public Health tweeted shortly after opening that the site was temporarily down due to technical difficulties, but it appears to be back up and running Tuesday afternoon.

Those on the waitlist will be contacted once vaccines and appointments are available, but the system will not use a first-come, first-served process for allocating the vaccines.

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Currently in Texas, only those who fall under Phase 1A and 1B are eligible to receive vaccines. That includes frontline healthcare workers, those who are 65 and older, or those 16 and older with a serious medical condition.

Only individuals who fall under these categories will be vaccinated at this stage. Those who are not qualified to receive the vaccine under 1A or 1B will still be able to be placed on the waitlist but will not be contacted to schedule an appointment until the State of Texas expands eligibility beyond those categories.

In order to ensure fair access for elderly residents, working families, and vulnerable populations, HCPH says registrants on the waitlist will instead be selected through a prioritization and randomization process in accordance with state guidelines.

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Individuals in Phase 1A who register for the waitlist will be prioritized before those in Phase 1B to ensure everyone in Phase 1A has an opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Within Phase 1A, individuals will be selected at random from the following age cohorts, with oldest cohorts prioritized first: 75+, 65-74, 55-64, 45-54, 35-44, 25-34, 18-24.

Individuals in Phase 1B who register for the waitlist will be selected at random from the following age cohorts, with oldest cohorts prioritized first: 75+, 65-74, 55-64, 45- 54, 35-44, 25-34, 18-24.

Once individuals are selected to receive a vaccine, they will be provided a link with instructions on how to select a location and time to get vaccinated at a HCPH site.

Officials say those who are not eligible or who show up without an appointment at an HCPH site will be turned away.

HCPH says all appointments are based on vaccine availability, and current appointments may be adjusted due to any possible changes to the department’s vaccine allotment.