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Why some people are going to a different location to get their second COVID vaccine shot

Going to different locations to get your first and second COVID vaccine shots is a practice state health officials are encouraging.

HOUSTON — We’re hearing from a lot of you about going to different locations for your first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, KHOU 11 News has learned it's a practice state health officials are encouraging.

Hitting the road for vaccines is nothing new.

“What we are trying to do is make sure we get as many shots in the arms as possible," Orange County Judge John Gothia told KHOU 11 News in early March.

We’ve reported on people finding spots in smaller counties and making the drive to places like Beaumont, Victoria and Corpus Christi. But what happens when you don’t feel like making the drive?

Places like CVS are now advertising second shots closer to home.

“It just kept showing no availability, no availability," said Ron Nichols, who eventually says he was able to schedule his second shot at a CVS in Houston.

His first shot was in Louisiana. Nichols made the drive from Michigan.

“They didn’t even ask me for ID. I was really surprised, but today in Houston, they asked me for my ID on two different occasions," he said.

We asked the Texas Department of State Health Services how it’s keeping track of all the shot swapping. A spokesperson said:

“Vaccine providers are allowed to give 2nd doses to people who were not vaccinated with their first dose by that provider. DSHS has been encouraging providers to do so.”

They went on to say all providers must report the doses they give out within 24 hours to the state’s registry.

The lesson from Nichols' road trip to get the vaccine: don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

“I had some events coming up where I was going to have to do some things in person, I’m very much interested in not only protecting myself but protecting everybody else that I’m around," Nichols said.

We have heard from some state hub providers who say all this shot swapping is creating more people double booking and no-shows. Meaning, providers must overbook the day’s appointments and make sure waitlists are ready – so vaccines don’t end up in the trash.