EL PASO, Texas -- At a news conference Friday, Mayor Oscar Leeser and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said El Paso is starting to see a decline in demand for the Covid-19 vaccine, but the community is still “pro-vaccination.”
The officials said there is no longer a wait list for people to get vaccinated through the EP Covid vaccine website. At one point, there had been more than 300,000 registrations.
“We’ve gone through that list,” said Leeser, indicating that the city was able to go through that list “quickly” because many people were double, even triple registered. Many had also already received the vaccine at other locations by the time the city had reached out to them to schedule an appointment.
Those who did not hear back “for whatever reason” can now go on to EPCovidVaccine.com, register and book an appointment right away. People are also encouraged to call 915-212-6843.
“The demand is reducing, and we have better supply. (I’m) very excited about that situation,” said Samaniego, who noted that 58% of those eligible have received at least one dose of the vaccine in El Paso County.
The biggest challenge now is reaching those who are hesitant to get the vaccine or haven’t been able to do so. The mayor and county judge said they were working to find “innovative” ways in reaching out to those people..
Samaniego said convenience is one reason people haven’t yet gotten the vaccine. He also noted that in El Paso County, many are waiting for the pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be lifted because it's becoming the vaccine of choice.
“People liked it (because it is one dsoe), it’s a really convenient situation,” Samaniego explained. “If we're not accommodating, I'll tell you, the mayor and I are going to figure out what we need to do to accommodate everyone that we can."
During a separate briefing that followed the news conference, El Paso Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino said there’s always a concern El Paso may not reach herd immunity of a 75% vaccination rate because of those people who don’t want to receive a vaccination.
“It always will remain a worry until we get more people vaccinated. It doesn't mean we're going to change our efforts. We're going to change our outreach,” he explained. “We want everyone to feel comfortable with it. We want them to realize that it's going to help the entire community, it's going to help us get back to that normal.”
Those who want to get vaccinated can still to so at its El Paso hub sites and Covid-19 clinics.
Starting Monday, the city said people can also register for a vaccine at the Joey Barraza and Vino Memorial Park at 11270 McCombs Street.
Also, the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the Texas Military are providing vaccinations at the East Side Sports Complex at 14380 Montwood from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. People can get a vaccine at that location without booking an appointment starting Monday.
And University Medical Center of El Paso said Friday that its vaccination operations at the El Paso County Coliseum are now open to walk-up, first-dose Pfizer vaccinations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. UMC’s online registration portal at UMCelpaso.org remains open along with UMC’s telephone registration system at (915) 975-8901 for those who prefer an appointment.