Coronavirus vaccine appointments were fully booked within 16 minutes after the Houston Health Department opened its online registration system Jan. 15.
The health department has established a vaccine “mega-site” at Minute Maid Park capable of vaccinating thousands of residents per day; however, demand has far outpaced supply, with appointments filling up rapidly. The department plans to vaccinate 5,000 residents over the weekend, 2,400 of whom signed up during an earlier round of appointments. An additional 2,600 slots opened up Jan. 15, filling up in less then 20 minutes.
The state of Texas is currently authorizing vaccinations to prioritized groups under Phases 1A and 1B of the state of Texas vaccination plan. The department is not currently scheduling more appointments.
In Phase 1A, health care workers who are in contact with COVID-19 patients are eligible, as are people in long-term care. In Phase 1B, eligibility includes those over age 65 or those over age 16 with certain conditions, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, solid organ transplantation, obesity, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes.
As more vaccines come available, residents can sign up for appointments through the Houston Health Department or any provider approved by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Jan. 14, the department had administered a total of 18,658 doses, according to a news release.
Vaccination sites have included Minute Maid Park; Bayou City Event Center; the health department's Northside, La Nueva Casa de Amigos, Sharpstown and Sunnyside health centers; the JW Peavy Senior Center; and the health department's Acres Homes, Hiram Clarke and Magnolia multiservice centers.
Editor's note: this post has been updated for clarity.
Houston Health Department vaccine appointments fill up in 16 minutes
The Houston Health department will administer 5,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 16 and 17. (Courtesy Visit Houston)