Houston Health Department focusing latest vaccine allocation on most vulnerable

HOUSTON The Houston Health Department will focus its latest COVID-19 vaccine allocation on people at the highest risk for severe illness and those in vulnerable communities during the week of February 1, 2021.

The department received 9,000 additional doses on Thursday and will prioritize approximately 5,300 for its Area Agency on Aging, 2,400 for providers in vulnerable communities, and 1,300 for previously scheduled appointments.

“We know it is important to vaccinate the people who are the most vulnerable, and they should be among the first to get shots, especially when supply is scarce,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The Houston Health Department’s distribution plan for next week focuses on those with a higher risk for illness and death and people living in vulnerable communities.”

The vulnerable population vaccine allocation means the health department will not open new appointments for the qualifying general public for the week of February 1.

Health department appointments are currently full based on supply. People are urged not to contact the COVID-19 call center about first dose appointments because no slots are currently available.

People can register for the HoustonRecovers subscription of AlertHouston to learn about new Houston Health Department appointment opportunities through email, text message, voice call, or mobile app push notification.

When available, the appointment portal for Houston Health Department vaccine clinics will open at HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.

People may also visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for a list of local COVID-19 vaccine providers to contact about availability.

Area Agency on Aging
In order to follow-up on the more than 70,000 calls to the Area Agency on Aging and its Aging and Disability Resource Center, additions to its waitlist are not being accepted until further notice.

The agency’s waitlist includes people age 65 and older, people age 60 and older with chronic health conditions, and people with disabilities.

People who left voicemails do not need to call back. They will be contacted and screened for eligibility over the coming days.

Vulnerable Communities
Like the department’s COVID-19 testing strategy, its vaccine plan focuses on access and equity.

As supply increases, the department will expand partnerships with pharmacies and federally qualified health centers to directly provide vaccines in vulnerable communities. The department’s plan includes providing vaccine via mobile units as supply increases.

“Addressing our most vulnerable and at-risk communities is at the core of the mission of the Houston Health Department, and that continues to be true of our COVID-19 response,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of the health department.

Second Doses
The department will also schedule 11,971 second doses due the week of February 1.

People who received their first dose from the health department will be contacted and scheduled for second doses. People do not need to call the department about a second dose unless they have not been contacted 48 hours before Moderna's recommended 28-day due date.

Please check voicemails, text messages and emails frequently for second dose scheduling information and alert the COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 if contact information has changed since receiving the first dose.

The department currently provides the Moderna vaccine, with the second dose recommended 28 days after the first dose. Updated guidance from CDC says the second dose should be administered as close as possible to the recommended interval but can be scheduled up to 42 days after the first dose.

”If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series,” the CDC guidance says.

The department's second dose schedule for the week of February 1 is listed below but people should not show up without an appointment.

First Dose Second Dose
December 31, 2020
George R. Brown Convention Center
February 1, 2021
George R. Brown Convention Center
January 3-8, 2021
Other HHD Clinic Locations
February 1, 2021
Bayou City Event Center
January 4, 2021
George R. Brown Convention Center
February 2, 2021
George R. Brown Convention Center
January 5, 2021
George R. Brown Convention Center
February 3, 2021
George R. Brown Convention Center
January 9, 2021
Minute Maid Park
February 5, 2021 at Delmar Stadium and
February 6 at Minute Maid Park or Delmar Stadium

The department is providing second doses only to people who it provided a first dose.

The department scheduled 2,356 second doses during the week of January 25.

Houston Health Department Doses Administered
As of the end of the day on January 28, the Houston Health Department administered a total of 34,503 doses at locations including Minute Maid Park, Bayou City Event Center, Delmar Stadium, George R. Brown Convention Center, its Northside, La Nueva Casa de Amigos, Sharpstown and Sunnyside health centers, the JW Peavy Senior Center, and its Acres Homes, Hiram Clarke and Magnolia multi-service centers.

Visit the vaccine page of HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for the latest information about COVID-19 vaccinations through the Houston Health Department.