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The East Texas COVID-19 vaccination registration website.

The online portal to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in Angelina County is now open, and interested participants can go to ETXcovidvaccine.com to sign up or learn more.

"Area leadership partners are very pleased to have the Innoculate COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Portal available for Deep East Texas residents to self-register for COVID vaccine," health district administrator Sharon Shaw said. "Partners have worked hard to develop the many facets of COVID response and researched multiple online software programs to ensure we selected the best fit for our citizenry."

The site features information about the different vaccines, the clinics in Angelina County, volunteering and software on signing up to get vaccinated.

"The Innoculate COVID Registration Portal provides a registration system for the public to self-register, choose a date and time from an available menu of vaccine clinic dates, and speeds up the entire registration and check in process," Shaw said. "The Innoculate system also provides COVID vaccine statistical data for clinic administrators to better track doses, populations served, second-dose reminders and a host of other vital data points. The system also sends COVID vaccine data to the state of Texas ImmTrac Program. This decreases manpower needs and ensures seamless transfer of information that is critical to COVID vaccine efforts."

The Angelina County & Cities Health District website stated Monday 8,808 vaccine doses have been distributed in East Texas in a phased approach based on the recommendation of the Texas Department of State Health Services and the expert vaccine allocation panel.

Vaccines are available at providers in Angelina, Polk and San Augustine counties, and the health district hopes to begin holding more vaccination clinics soon at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center in Lufkin, according to its website.

The ETXcovidvaccine.com site registration process includes qualification questions to determine if individuals meet criteria to be vaccinated at this time because not all individuals will meet the current priority populations.

Those populations include:

■ Phase 1A — health care workers

■ Phase 1B — 65 or older; 18 or older with chronic medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 illness

■ School employee/staff, licensed childcare and Head Start employee/staff

The site states Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping individuals from getting COVID-19, and experts also think getting the vaccine may also help keep individuals from getting seriously ill even if they do get the virus.

The site has FAQ sheets on the vaccine and its different types, as well as guidance from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

"At this time Angelina County HUB has only received the Moderna vaccine," Shaw said. "We hope to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming weeks."

It informs individuals on what to expect upon arrival and what to bring. For example, it recommends wearing comfortable clothing and shoes and wearing short sleeves, remembering to bring identification in case the individual may need to show he or she is in an eligible category.

The portal asks basic demographic questions and screens for health issues before the COVID vaccination, Shaw said. No insurance is needed.

The recommended way to register is to use a mobile phone. Once completing the online registration, individuals will be shown a QR code and asked to take a picture or screenshot of the QR to bring with them during check-in at the vaccination site.

Using a computer is similar, but the option to print the QR code is listed.

If the individual has no access to a cellphone or computer, the site suggests registering online, making a note of the assigned appointment time and being prepared to provide the name and birth date upon arrival.

Shaw said previously that health district employees have called each patient individually up until this point. First and foremost, the portal will benefit the community by equipping individuals with a tool to self-register, Shaw said.

"The Health District, our Angelina, Polk and San Augustine leadership partners and the multitude of community volunteers who have rallied together to provide vaccination services are excited about a new streamlined approach to the daunting responsibility of vaccinating thousands of individuals in the Deep East Texas area," she said.

The call center will remain open for those without internet access or who are otherwise incapable of using the online platform. Those who need to can call the Coronavirus Call Center at 630-8500.

Grace Juarez's email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.