EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso officials say it’s not uncommon to see individuals miss their scheduled appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine.
El Paso Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino says an estimated 20 percent of appointments are absent daily. And, Tuesday was no different. It has prompted monitoring by health officials who are overseeing the rollout of the vaccine in the community.
“Yesterday we didn’t see an uptick — there was no difference — but we average 20 percent of people, whether it’s first or second dose who don’t show up on a daily basis, and we maintained that across all the sites yesterday as well. So we haven’t seen it yet, but that’s not to say it’s not coming,” said D’Agostino.
The city and health officials are urging the public not to be deterred from receiving their COVID-19 vaccines amid a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pause the administering of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“This announcement regarding the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is not to scare people, not to discourage people,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City-County Health Authority.
However, D’Agostino added that there are people who are getting close to the time limit to receive their second dose of the vaccine, saying this is a regular occurrence of people going past the 42-day time limit.
While officials deal with the fallout from the announcement, they are tracking the number of residents who have not gotten vaccinated or who have not gotten their second dose. If some people may not get the second dose of the vaccine in time, they can still make an appointment to receive it.
Ocaranza and D’Agostino are urging residents to get their second doses, even those who are past a 42-day period in between shots.
“Unfortunately it does occur regularly,” D’Agostino said. “Right now, there are about 600 that are at that critical point that we need to get them in.”
If you have not been contacted and are awaiting your second dose, call 915-212- 6843.
D’Agostino says 519,696 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in El Paso, with 199,696 of those being people who’ve received both doses and 320,000 who have received one dose.
While some El Pasoans are not showing up for their appointments, many are. Bertha Apodaca said despite the discomfort after receiving the vaccine, she would get the vaccine all over again.
“It was worth it definitely,” said Apodaca. “The first time I had a little bit of discomfort, but due to the security that I felt once I had the first dosage, I was encouraged to go get the second dose.”
El Pasoan Sophia Navarro said she vomited after receiving her first dose of the vaccine.
“The first dose, I had a bunch of chills and I had a bit of nausea,” Navarro said.
Despite the sickness Navarro decided to go back for her second dose.
“I knew it was like important for my family and for everyone else to be safe and to get back to the normal world,” said Navarro.