‘Be patient’: Turner says there’s a huge demand for COVID-19 vaccine in city

HOUSTON – In a news conference Thursday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged people to continue trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the Houston area, even as appointments fill up.

He said as more vaccines become available in the coming months it will get easier to get an appointment.

“There’s huge demand for a limited supply,” Turner said. “... Just keep calling, it will get easier.”

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Turner noted that the hubs around Houston do not have geographical restrictions, so people from across the area are vying for the available appointments when they are opened. Just yesterday, appointments at Memorial Hermann filled up in few hours. It’s becoming a regular thing in the Houston area.

When the city opened registration for vaccinations for those that qualified earlier in January availability was exhausted within hours.

“We want to make sure that this vaccine is accessible to everybody,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of Houston Health.

However, when there was availability, there was a major issue. The vaccine hotline was congested, while online users booked appointments, without significant interruption.

“I would just simply tell you just keep calling. As the days and weeks go by it will become easier,” Turner said.

Turner said a mega site will open at Minute Maid Park this Saturday and another mega site is being looked at. A mega site can vaccinate between 3,000-4,000 people each day according to Turner.

“It doesn’t do any good for these vaccines to be waiting on the shelf or just waiting for next week, the virus is not waiting, and because the virus is not waiting, I don’t want us to wait,” Turner said.

Beyond the mega sites, Turner said city working is to set up additional ways to vaccinate, including a mobile component for people that are homebound.

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