UT-Austin students discuss getting second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Samantha Greyson

Biology junior Courtney Bui said she had to drive three hours Tuesday to receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since UT would not administer it to her because she received her first dose in an alternate location in Tarrant County.

“Literally a week or two after I got my shot (during spring break), that’s when Texas announced that all adults can get the vaccine,” Bui said. “It was my time to get a (vaccine) appointment through UT, and when I went on there, the only options were to get the first dose.”

Bui said she looked for other Austin vaccine providers to receive her second dose, but she couldn’t find an appointment anywhere.

“I found out that most places don’t really give out the second dose by itself, so it wasn’t just UT,” Bui said. “I think CVS and Walgreens are the only ones that give out the second dose only, but it’s very hard to find an appointment, especially with whether you got Moderna or Pfizer.”

Jonathan Robb, director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, said in an email that while they recommend that people receive their first and second dose from the same location, it is not a requirement.

“Our first priority is to ensure we have first and second vaccine doses available for appointments currently scheduled at our location,” Robb said. “If the University has vaccines available to give to those needing a second dose who are unable to return to their first dose location, we will provide them the second dose.”

Robb said students who got their first vaccine elsewhere can only get their second dose at UT if there is vaccine availability, even if it is the last day they can receive the vaccine.

Bui said she emailed the University about scheduling a second vaccine appointment and waited a week for an email response from the University. When she got a response, they directed her to a call line.

“They straight up just said no,” Bui said. “I feel like with these vaccine appointments, it’s like during the day, the weekday, and it’s at random times; whatever’s available, they give to you, so it’s not very convenient at all.”

Austin Public Health will administer a second dose to anyone with a vaccine card showing that it has been more than the 28-day recommended period between their first and second dose.

The Texas Department of State Health Services allocates the number of vaccines a hub gets based on the assumption that only those who get their first dose will return for their second, Robb said.

”The state ensures a second dose is allocated to the location at which the first dose is given,” Robb said. “This ensures the person is able to get the second dose within the recommended time frame.”

Psychology sophomore Linh Le said she also received her first dose of the vaccine in League City, Texas, over spring break while she was home.

Le said she got her vaccine at home because she was unsure when she would be eligible to receive it from the University.

“UT wasn’t offering it to everyone at that point yet, and I didn’t know when UT would offer it to everyone, so I decided to get it when I was at home,” Le said. “I realized yesterday … that UT offered some walk-in appointments … They offered, I think, 100 in the morning and then 100 in the afternoon. If I had known about that, I wouldn’t have gone home to get it.”

Editor’s Note: This headline has been updated to more accurately represent students’ ability to receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at UT. The Texan regrets this error.