More than 60,000 doses sent to vaccine hubs in Houston area this week

Local officials urge COVID-19 vaccine distribution to focus on the high-risk and vulnerable

Tens of thousands of additional coronavirus vaccines are headed to the Houston area this week.

HOUSTON – Tens of thousands of additional coronavirus vaccines are headed to the Houston area this week.

More than 60,000 doses will be sent to vaccine hubs in the Houston area. Harris, Galveston, and Fort Bend counties will receive the most.

The Houston Health Department said nearly 6,400 doses will go to the department’s Area Agency on Aging.

Health officials said about 3,800 will be set aside for providers in underserved communities and other doses are for previously scheduled appointments. About 5,700-second doses will be given, officials said. Houston Methodist Hospital will receive the most doses in the entire state-- 12,675.

While this is a relief for some, those in Brazon County said they received fewer doses than expected, causing them to have to reschedule some vaccination appointments.

City and state leaders came together Saturday to discuss vaccination distribution efforts in high risk and vulnerable communities.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city plans to fight racial inequities and disparity by targeting minority communities in vaccine distribution. He cited recent data showing minorities are less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For the city of Houston, those percentages are 43 percent for Anglos, 21 percent for Hispanics, 15 percent for Asians, and 18 percent for African Americans,” said Turner.

According to Turner, the city needs to be more intentional and directional in the distribution of the vaccine.

“For example, we have kind of pulled away from the mass distribution sites,” Turner said. “Mass distribution sites are good for numbers but not necessarily the best for equity.”

Turner said educating the public and allowing them access to the vaccine would also address the minority community’s hesitancy to be vaccinated.

Turner believes the plan will work if everyone does their part.

“I have already sent an email to The Texas Medical Center and some hospitals asking that we work more constructively to share what we get. So asking hospitals to share and work even more closely with the county, with the city and with our community providers,” he said.

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