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More than 49,000 people sign up for Harris County COVID-19 vaccine waitlist on Day 1 – KHOU.com

Officials at Harris County Public Health blame a surge in traffic with causing the website to go down for two hours.

HOUSTON — More than 49,000 people signed up for Harris County’s new COVID-19 vaccine waitlist during its first few hours of operation.

According to the Harris County Judge’s Office, 49,287 people had signed up as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The portal launched around noon.

Officials at Harris County Public Health blame a surge in traffic with causing the website to go down for two hours.

Unlike vaccine sign-ups in other counties and cities in the Houston area, Harris County’s process is not first-come, first-serve.

RELATED: Harris County’s COVID-19 vaccine portal is now online — all residents can sign up

“Getting a COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be like the Hunger Games,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, during a Monday press conference on the portal launch. “It shouldn’t be about who can hit refresh on a browser the fastest.”

Hidalgo said the selection process will be randomized and use prioritization based on state guidelines.

All residents can sign up for the waitlist, even if they’re not yet eligible for the vaccine. Currently, Texas is offering the vaccine to people in Phases 1A and 1B.

“The benefit of that is that in a couple of months, once the state makes vaccines available to another segment of the population, we’ll have those folks already on the waitlist, and we’ll be able to reach out to them according to whatever the state designates,” said Hidalgo.

People can register at readyharris.org or call 832-927-8787.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Hidalgo reminded residents via social media that they can still call Wednesday or visit the signup website later in the week.

Harris County is currently receiving about 9,000 vaccines per week from the state.

Hidalgo says they’re building more capacity for when they get more supply. County officials hope to eventually operate six vaccination sites and a mobile location.

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