"My goal is to get the vaccines to people as soon as we get them, " Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a Jan. 2 news release. "Even though there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy, people still have a strong desire to get the vaccine, and that is what today demonstrates."
The city said it ran into technical delays when the city's call center was overwhelmed with appointment requests. However, the health department was still able to provide the first round of Moderna vaccines to 1,008 people. On Jan. 3, it was able to treat another 986. The vaccines were given by appointment only.
To get the vaccine, individuals had to qualify under the state's 1A and 1B group criteria. In 1A, health care workers who are in contact with COVID-19 patients are eligible as well as people in long-term care.
In 1B, eligibility includes those over 65 or those with certain conditions, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart conditions, solid organ transplantation, obesity and severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The Moderna vaccine requires two doses. Those that receive the first dose must receive a second after 28 days.
As of Jan. 3, over 157,000 doses of vaccines have been delivered to Harris County. Of those, over 56,000 have been administered by local hospitals and public agencies, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The city of Houston plans more public vaccine distributions as doses become available, Turner said.