HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that future coronavirus vaccine megasites will be dependent on the supply of doses that is received by the city.
Turner said that the city received 8,000 doses Friday morning, which allowed the city to open up 1,000 additional appointment slots at Saturday’s mega-vaccination site at Minute Maid Park, where a total of 3,852 people received the shot.
“Some of that 8,000 we already used,” said Mayor Turner. “Quite frankly, we need another 8,000 this week.”
The mayor said he wants to open megasites on the north and south sides of the city as soon as possible, but he’s hesitant to announce more detailed plans because he’s unsure if the city will get another shipment of the vaccine this week.
“We need everyone to work with a great sense of urgency,” Turner said.
Turner said demand for the vaccine is far outpacing the amount of vaccine that is available. Turner said that as soon as more doses of the vaccine are received, the city will start opening up additional appointment slots.
Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department, said that of the more than 22,000 vaccines that have been received by the city, 14,297 have been administered and 1,900 have been transferred to other providers to help ensure equity of the vaccine distribution.
“It is important for us to get our vaccines but it’s important for us to look at equity as a value, as a city,” Williams added.
Williams said the Houston Health Department is expecting to get more vaccine doses from the state this week.
‘Middle of the storm’
The Houston Health Department reported an additional 1,460 cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases to more than 131,000. Three additional deaths, including Jose Rubio, a 27-year veteran of the city’s Public Works Department, were also reported, bringing the total number of deaths in Houston to 1,600.
Turner said hospitalizations related to coronavirus are rapidly approaching levels that were reached during the summer surge.
Dr. David Persse, Houston’s chief medical officer, said that with a current positivity rate of 17.4% he believes the hospitalizations will soon pass the numbers seen in the summer.
“Hospitals are really at a very strained position right now,” Persse said.
Officials again urged people to wear their masks, wash their hands, keep their distance, avoid large gatherings and get tested.