Vaccine hub in Bryan to administer another 7,300 doses this week as it revamps sign-up system

Moving forward, those who are eligible for a vaccine need to visit so they can directly schedule their appointment online.
The Brazos Center vaccine hub opened up its drive-thru operation on Friday. It will be used...
The Brazos Center vaccine hub opened up its drive-thru operation on Friday. It will be used only for those receiving their second dose of the vaccine.(KBTX)
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 9:16 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Brazos Center vaccine hub will administer another 7,300 shots this week, 5,000 of which are first doses, as it transitions to a new sign-up process that will officially open Monday.

Moving forward, those who are eligible for a vaccine need to visit so they can directly schedule their appointment online. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and reopen every Friday once the hub knows how many doses it will receive in its weekly allotment. The waiting list officially closed Thursday night.

“All the people that were left on the list, which was 3,000 or 4,000 that were in the 1B category, were all sent an email offering the chance to schedule an appointment,” Brazos County COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force Chief Jim Stewart said. “All appointments left at 10 o’clock on Monday will be made available to the general public.”

The hub’s new website, which went live Thursday night, also includes a number of resources, such as contact numbers, answers to frequently asked questions, current eligibility requirements, and more.

Stewart says the old registration system worked okay as a starting point, but there was a lot of room to improve it.

“It was a bit awkward because we had a waiting list on one side of the county, and then we had the health science center who is managing our scheduling and notification system on the other,” Stewart said.

The hub also decided to move away from using the 211 system to schedule appointments over the phone. Those how don’t have access to a computer and are eligible for a vaccine can reach out to the call center directly to book an appointment by dialing 979-703-1545. The call center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Stewart also says they made the command decision to add teachers and ancillary staff to the 1B category. They will be eligible to receive a vaccine at the hub beginning Monday.

The Brazos hub officially opened up its drive-thru operation to administer second doses of the vaccine Friday morning.

“It went almost flawlessly, except that we were short vaccinators Friday afternoon,” Stewart said. “There was a hiccup on the scheduling, so we were only able to run it in the morning, but it went very well. There were no problems whatsoever.”

Stewart says the hub will continue to split administer first doses inside the building and second doses in the drive-thru, but just like last week, it will do the first-dose shots at the beginning of the week and second-dose shots at the end. He says this is partially to ensure the drive-thru continues to run smoothly since they’ve only operated it once, but mostly because their second-dose allotment this week is smaller compared to what it’s expected to be in the future.

“I think for the near term until we stabilize the number of allotments we’re getting every week, we’ll probably split them off like that,” Stewart said.

Stewart says the hub will receive the same amount of second doses any given week as it received the first doses four weeks prior. That means four weeks from now, the hub will prepare to administer 5,000-second doses to match its first-dose output for this week. He says if the hub can run 10,000 doses a week consistently, it will allow them to get through the Brazos Valley a little bit quicker than he expected. Since the hub opened, it has administered 24,000 shots, 19,000 of which were first-dose vaccinations.

“Since we started the hub, there’s been 2,097 volunteer opportunities. Those slots make up 14,000 hours of volunteer time,” Stewarts said. “It’s the residents of Brazos Valley helping one another out. That’s the beauty of it. We couldn’t do this without them.”

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