Officials say vaccine demand declining across Houston area

HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department said it’s seen a significant decrease in demand for COVID-19 vaccinations over the past two weeks.

“I think part of that is due to our need to increase education and outreach efforts but part of it is due to hesitancy, I believe,” said Stephen Williams, the department’s director.

Early on, vaccine appointments were hard to come by. Last week, Williams said only about half of the department’s available appointments were booked.

“We all expected that at some point we would reach a point where we had to actually do outreach, where people really weren’t knocking on our doors to get vaccines,” Williams said.

However, he said that’s happening sooner than expected.

The trend is appearing elsewhere, too.

“We’re seeing less and less demand for the vaccine,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, local health authority for Galveston County.

Galveston County asked the state to hold off on sending more doses until it goes through its current supply, Keiser said.

“People are not wanting the vaccine as much as they were when we first started,” he said.

On Wednesday, a public safety alert went out advising people ages 16 and up they could get vaccinated at NRG Park in Houston without needing an appointment.

Williams does not believe we’ve reached a point where everyone who wants a vaccine has got one. Instead, he said the health department will have to go out to the people and make the vaccine more accessible.

Health officials plan to work with religious and community groups as part of that effort.