HOUSTON — As Texas joined several other states on Monday in opening eligibility for coronavirus vaccines to millions of healthy adults, anticipation for the shot could be seen in the long line that snaked outside Booker T. Washington High School in Houston.
“This is a good sign,” said Nelson Garcia, 48, who waited more than two hours with his two young children before he was finally within reach of protection from a disease that could be deadly for people with diabetes like himself. “It looks like everyone wants to get vaccinated. I want my children to see that this is a good thing and that the vaccine may finally help us get back to normal.”
On Monday, Texas became the largest state to expand vaccination eligibility to anyone 16 or older, or about 22 million people. Long lines were replicated across the state and appointments were difficult to snag online. Vaccination spots at HEB.com, the website for the most popular supermarket chain in Texas, were few and far between.
The spike was expected. “Virtually anyone can get a vaccine now,” said Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat who represents the Houston region.
a New York Times database.
the Rio Grande Valley, where a combination of poverty, lack of access to health care and a close-knit culture accelerated the spread of the virus over the summer, vaccination sites were a little bit quieter. A majority of residents in Hidalgo County, home to McAllen, had gotten a vaccine by late March, officials said. More than half of its residents qualified because they tend to suffer from chronic pre-existing ailments such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, said Dr. Ivan Melendez, the county health authority.