CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen visits the Alief Neighborhood Center vaccine clinic

HOUSTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, visited the Alief Neighborhood Center to tour the facility and promote vaccinations before the holiday travel season. Today’s visit coincided with the center’s health fair, hosted by the Harris County Area Agency on Aging, a program of the Houston Health Department (HHD) and the Bridge Access Program which offers free flu and COVID-19 vaccines for adults.

“This is the first year we have vaccines to protect against the three major winter respiratory viruses—COVID-19, Flu, and RSV,” said Dr. Cohen. “Right now, the power is in our hands to protect ourselves. Getting vaccinated provides protection ahead of the winter and reduces your risk of going to the hospital. We all want to have a happy and healthy holiday season. Take steps now to protect yourself and your family.”

The Bridge Access Program will provide free vaccines to eligible adults 18 years and older without health insurance and whose insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs through December 31, 2024.

“Giving our vulnerable older populations meaningful access to care will allow them to lead lives without barriers or limits to healthcare,” said Houston Health Department Director, Stephen L. Williams. “We thank Dr. Mandy Cohen for visiting the Alief Neighborhood Center to encourage our work.”

Dr. Cohen warns Texas could see a rise in influenza, COVID-19, and RSV viruses in the upcoming winter months; therefore, prioritizing vaccination is a great step the public can take in slowing the spread of illness.

“It’s very important for everyone to continue to protect themselves from COVID-19, and now, during cold and flu season, making sure Texans continue to take the measures they need to stay safe from these viruses is a top priority,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “This clinic provides an efficient and affordable way for adults of all ages to participate in preventative care for their health.”

Uninsured and underinsured adults can also opt to get a free COVID-19 vaccine at retail pharmacies participating in Bridge Access program including, CVS, Walgreens and the smaller and independent pharmacies participating under the eTrueNorth umbrella.

For more information, people can call the department’s call center at 832-393-4220 or visit