HOUSTON — Longtime HISD school nurse Joy Babb sought out her own second COVID-19 vaccine dose and paid out of pocket at a private clinic in Humble.
"I feel blessed that I was able to find that,” Babb said.
She and a number of colleagues claim the Houston Health Department never followed up after they got their initial dose late last month at the Bayou Events Center mass vaccination site.
"They just said they would call you," Babb said. "And I didn’t get a call.”
Babb, who works at Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center High School, got the Moderna vaccine which recommends a second dose within 28 days.
While the CDC says it should be administered as close to that as possible, guidance updated just last week says the second dose can wait up to six weeks after the first dose.
Babb said she didn't want to wait beyond the initial recommendation.
"I am the person people come to when they’re sick where I work," Babb said. "So I am exposed to more viral load than anyone else.”
The Houston Health Department has administered more than 29,000 vaccines thus far and just opened a new site at Delmar Stadium for those in the first two phases.
The agency said it will reach out within the appropriate timeframe to schedule a second dose for those who get the first dose through them.
“We understand the anxiety about the second dose and appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue working together to achieve the largest mass vaccination effort ever,“ the department said a statement.
Babb is afraid other people may wind up having to find their own solutions as she did.
“I think the rush to get that first dose out there, that I think there will be considerable people falling through the cracks,” Babb said.
More from HHD on second doses:
The department currently provides the Moderna vaccine. Moderna’s second dose is recommended 28 days after the first dose. Updated guidance from CDC says "the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second does of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.”
If contact information has changed since a person received their first dose from the health department, please alert the COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220.
“We understand the anxiety about the second dose and appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue working together to achieve the largest mass vaccination effort ever,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of the health department. “Please be assured that if you were vaccinated by the Houston Health Department, we will reach out to you within the appropriate timeframe to schedule your second dose.”