HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday he regrets that people had to be turned away from Saturday’s mass-vaccination site at Minute Maid Park.
On Saturday, thousands waited in line outside at the megasite at the Juice Box to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Some people who had an appointment were turned away.
“There was at least 1,000 more behind me, and then when they told us they ran out,” said Joe Higgins, who had an appointment. “There was still people coming to get in line.”
Higgins, 68, was on the list and waited in line for hours. He is a cancer survivor and a heart patient, who was looking forward to getting his vaccine. He did not get it but others did.
“They were giving the wrist bands to anybody, and so people got shots that didn’t even have reservations,” Higgins said.
Turner said some people were double booked, some shared their confirmation numbers with others and some claimed they had lost their confirmation numbers. The city tried to accommodate as many people as possible.
“We regret that not everyone who showed up got the vaccine, but 6,400 people did,” Turner said.
Turner said the bottom line is that the city needs more vaccines and more notice of shipments to be able to set up efficient sites. He said the city will now move away from large-scale vaccination distributions and focus on smaller events.
“We will be setting up and utilizing more community sites, and then, in some cases where people are homebound, we will provide shots for people at their home,” Turner said. “Can you improve your process? Yes. Are we going to work every single day to improve it? Yes.”
Officials at the Houston Health Department said that people who had an appointment but did not leave their information can call 832-393-4220. Officials said people who left their information with workers at the ballpark will be contacted Thursday.