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Vaccination rates in Texas back on the rise after last week's winter storms

The Lone Star State is currently lagging behind the rest of the country after the storms, but experts expect the pace to pick back up.

SAN ANTONIO — Getting an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine can be a slow, frustrating experience for many Texans. Some who are eligible have been trying for two months to sign up, without success.

Texas is a little behind the rest of the country when it comes to immunization efforts—and last week's devastating winter storm effectively put a halt to them as most stayed at home.  

"My guess is we will be able to catch up next week when we are able to administer the doses that we didn't get to administer last week during the winter storm," said Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager for San Antonio. 

According to the Texas state report on discarded vaccines, last week's winter storm caused 797 vaccines to go to waste across Texas, including 185 in the Bexar County area. Out of those 185, 160 were from the CHRISTUS Promptu Urgent Care facility, and 25 from the University of Texas Medicine. 

"We get about 30,000 doses a week," Bridger said. "You hate to waste any vaccine, but that's not the reason why you are seeing us fall behind."

A graph from a recent Bloomberg report shows Texas's vaccination rate peaking earlier this month. But officials say the map may be misleading. 

"When I looked at the map last week, we were doing as well as anybody else with a few exceptions," Bridger said. "I really think it's the winter storm that has slowed us down a little bit."

In the U.S., the latest vaccination rate states over 1,315,000 doses distributed per day, on average. At that rate, it would take an estimated 10 months to cover 75% of the population with a two-dose vaccine. 

In Texas, the latest vaccination rate is 87,380 doses per day on average. But Bridger says that lower rate was only due to the winter storm, and expects that number to go back up. 

"Vaccine doses have increased by 70% since the first of the year," she said. "That will continue to increase every week and eventually there will be more vaccine than there will be people."

The city did receive notice that the Alamodome is expected to receive another 10,000 doses of the vaccine soon. So site workers will be opening up registration again, likely on Monday once they receive the manifest of shipment.

The federal government has rolled out a national vaccine-finder website, which should eventually be the primary place people can go to find out where they can get a vaccine.