“For this to fall into our lap, we were so thankful,” TSU President Ken Huewitt said during a Feb. 11 news conference.
Appointments to receive a vaccination at the site are made through Baylor St. Luke’s website, available to some of the most vulnerable populations, including people older than 75, other at-risk populations and minorities who meet the state’s guidelines for vaccine distribution.
“When demand is so high, and supply so limited, you want to make sure as many people can get it as possible, but you want to make sure the equity is there,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during the news conference.
TSU is located in Houston’s Third Ward, where in 2015 non-Hispanic Black people accounted for 67% of the more than 14,000 people living there, with Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites accounting for 14% and 13%, respectively, according to a 2017 resource assessment on the area by Houston’s Planning and Development Department, with over 51% of the population reporting income under $25,000.
“On so many different levels, they were on the margins and constantly battling not just to thrive, but to survive,” Turner said. “But here comes this virus. So how do we provide them the support that they need to survive and move forward in a productive fashion? It requires collaboration.”
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in February, nearly 13 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine across the country. Of the 52% whose race/ethnicity was known, 60.4% were white, while 39.6% represented racial and ethnic minorities, including 11.5% Hispanic/Latino, and 5.4% Black.
This comes as Harris County reported 37,418 active cases Feb. 11 and 330,256 total since the pandemic began.