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Coronavirus Featured Health

How to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose in El Paso

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Close to 100,000 El Pasoans have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and most will soon be due for their second shot. A recent change in the city’s scheduling process has created confusion about how to get the second dose.

Here’s what you need to know about the second shot.

People should try to go to the same provider for both shots

The Texas Department of State Health Services encourages people to get their second shot from their original vaccine provider, spokesperson Douglas Loveday said. The state health department sends providers second doses based on the number of first doses they’ve received.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine requires a second shot 28 days after the first. Though someone should not get their second shot sooner than these intervals, people can wait up to six weeks between their first and second vaccine doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No matter which vaccine someone receives, the second dose must be from the same manufacturer.

El Paso’s hubs are scheduling second doses differently

Most El Pasoans are receiving their first shot from either the city-run vaccine hub or University Medical Center of El Paso’s hub.

As of Feb. 1, anyone vaccinated through the city will be contacted via text message, phone call or email to schedule their second dose. The city will reach out to people the same week their second appointment is scheduled, spokeswoman Laura Cruz-Acosta said.

Anyone who received their first shot at the city hub prior to February and has a second appointment date listed on their vaccination card should disregard that date and instead wait to hear from the city. Note: this does not apply to people who got their first vaccine at the UMC hub.

Those who haven’t heard from the city, and believe they are due for their second shot, can call 915-212-6843 or email COVID19Vaccine@elpasotexas.gov with their name, date of birth, registration number and a way to contact them.

People who received their first shot from UMC should return on the day listed on their vaccination card, hospital spokesperson Ryan Mielke said. They should arrive at UMC’s vaccination site at the County Coliseum around the same time as their first appointment.

Those unable to return on their assigned date for a second UMC vaccine should try to go to the site one or two days before their scheduled second appointment. “If they show up after their date, they may miss the vaccination as it will be considered a no-show and the vaccine will likely go to another El Pasoan,” Mielke wrote in an email.

Another option is to call 915-975-8901 to reschedule.

Regardless of where someone is vaccinated, they should bring their vaccination card to the second appointment.

What if I still need the first vaccine dose?

Most El Pasoans are still awaiting their first dose. Texas is currently vaccinating front-line health care workers, first responders, people age 65 and older and those 16 and older with underlying health conditions.

All El Paso vaccine providers are giving shots by appointment. More information about how to register for an appointment can be found here.

El Pasoans not in the current priority groups likely won’t be able to register for the vaccine until late spring at the earliest. The Texas Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel has yet to determine who will be in the next priority group.

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Molly Smith

Molly Smith has been a reporter for the El Paso Times and The (McAllen) Monitor. She’s covered education, criminal justice and local government. A Seattle native, she’s lived in Texas since 2014, with stops in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and now El Paso. She can be reached at mksmith@elpasomatters.org or 915-247-8857.

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