7,000 vaccine slots filled Saturday in 10 minutes; UMC working to get more vaccines from state

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Saturday, University Medical Center opened registration for 7,000 COVID-19 shots. Those slots were filled within 10 minutes, according to a UMC spokesperson.

The UMC spokesperson told KTSM 9 News that the hospital is working to get more vaccinations from the state as the demand is so high and slots fill up quickly.

“It’s just one of those situations where the demand far, far outgains the supply, so what we’re trying to do is ask the state for more allotments, much larger allotments,” said UMC spokesperson.

Mielke added that it’s important the vaccines are administered as quickly as possible because once the shots have been given, it allows for more vaccine to be sent to El Paso from the state.

“As the state sees us using these and making sure that we’re vaccinating a lot of people, they will send us additional vaccines, but we are requesting amounts that are far greater than what we’ve currently received,” said Mielke.

With the demand in El Paso high and slots filling up within minutes, many El Pasoans were unable to register in time — it’s been this way every time UMC opens its vaccine registrations.

El Pasoan Alfonso Gomez, who has underlying health conditions, compared getting registered for the vaccine with playing the lottery, saying every time he’s tried he’s been too late.

“Keep playing till you get your name called,” said Gomez.

Another El Pasoan, Andres Bustillos, who also has underlying health conditions, experienced similar issues, saying he’s eager to get his shot and plans to keep trying to register with UMC.

“Check on a daily basis, see if I’m able to access the site. I believe the last time they also did it on Saturday around 12, 12:30, so, I would be inclined to believe that, that’s going to happen the following week as well, hopefully,” Bustillos said. “And if that’s the case, then a little before 12:30, I’ll be trying to get in there so I can get registered and get my shot.”

While many El Pasoans were not able to register on Saturday, 7,000 did. One of those was Adriana Peebles, who was able to register herself but not her mother.

“As soon as I found out, we went online and I went ahead with submitting all my information and, unfortunately, it was a pretty seamless process to get me registered, but I tried going back in to register another person, and by that time it had already closed,” said Peebles.

UMC told KTSM they understand the community’s frustration by how quickly slots are filled, but say they are working to get more vaccine and get as many people vaccinated.

“We hear it, we see it, people call, they email, they post on social media,” said Mielke. “We know people are frustrated and we’re doing everything possible to keep them informed, keep them aware, and also offer these vaccines as soon as we get them.”

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