FEMA to open mass vaccination site at NRG Stadium as part of federal pilot program

Three "mass community vaccination sites" are slated to open in Texas on Feb. 24—including one at NRG Stadium in Houston—to provide vaccines for COVID-19. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Three "mass community vaccination sites" are slated to open in Texas on Feb. 24—including one at NRG Stadium in Houston—to provide vaccines for COVID-19. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Three "mass community vaccination sites" are slated to open in Texas on Feb. 24—including one at NRG Stadium in Houston—to provide vaccines for COVID-19. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Three "mass community vaccination sites" are slated to open in Texas on Feb. 24—including one at NRG Stadium in Houston—to provide vaccines for COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Feb. 10 announcement.

The sites will be operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and local officials, Abbott said. Two other sites will operate at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Fair Park in Dallas.

The sites will initially issue vaccines to eligible Texans, including health care workers, individuals over the age of 65 and people with certain medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. The sites will also focus on underserved populations, Abbott said.

"
These mass community sites will allow us to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities and help us mitigate the spread of the virus," Abbott said in a statement. "Thank you to our partners at FEMA for working with the State of Texas to establish these vaccination sites and help us protect our most vulnerable."

Earlier this week, Abbott said the state was working with FEMA on what would likely be two sites—one in Houston and one in Dallas—that would each administer between 5,000-6,000 vaccines per day seven days a week for eight weeks.


However, White House officials said Feb. 10 that about 10,000 vaccines are expected to be administered combined per day across the three announced sites. It was not immediately clear how many of those 10,000 vaccines would go to NRG Stadium.

The opening of the new vaccination sites follows a pledge by President Joe Biden to increase vaccine distribution. The Texas sites are considered part of a pilot program to provide vaccines on a larger scale while making sure high-risk communities are not left behind. As part of the program,
state officials will work with local and federal partners to monitor vaccine administration to ensure they are provided "in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner," according to the release.

In a statement, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo expressed gratitude to the Biden administration and said additional details are forthcoming.

"Efficiency, fairness, and equity are the values we are applying to each step of our process to recover from this crisis, and we look forward to working with FEMA and state health officials to ensure this effort reaches those hit hardest by this crisis," she said in the statement.

In a Feb. 9 meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court, Hidalgo said her office was advocating for federal officials to make use of a vaccine waitlist the county has already compiled.


As of Feb. 10, an estimated 759,025 vaccines have been allocated to providers in Harris County, and 351,391 initial doses have been administered, according to state data. However, county officials said that data can be as much as three weeks behind the actual numbers due to a lag in data reporting.

Work is currently underway to convert NRG Stadium to a vaccination site, and the site is expected to open to the public Feb. 24.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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