Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health partnering to serve most vulnerable and underserved at NRG mass vaccination site

HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health are collaborating to ensure the FEMA-supported COVID-19 mass vaccination site opening this week at NRG Park prioritizes the area’s most vulnerable populations and underserved communities.

The site will fully-vaccinate approximately 126,000 people by serving 6,000 per day seven days per week for three weeks before transitioning to second doses for three weeks. Both departments will use their waitlists to schedule appointments for the drive-thru site.

“Our nationally-recognized COVID-19 response, led by the Houston Health Department, focuses on access and equity,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “By collaborating with partners and following the data, we can direct people from our most affected and vulnerable communities to the NRG Park site while simultaneously continuing to offer vaccine directly in communities.”

“This pandemic has exposed long-standing inequities in our communities that are the most vulnerable to disease,” said Sherri Onyiego, PhD, MD, Interim Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health.” We look forward to working with our federal partners to expand our current vaccination efforts, especially to those communities who have been disproportionately impacted.”

Houston Health Department

The Houston Health Department’s strategy for the NRG Park site will utilize its Area Agency Aging waitlist with the following prioritization criteria:

• Priority 1 – People age 65 and older who live in a high-risk zip code,

• Priority 2 – People age 65 years and older,

• Priority 3 – People age 60-64 with underlying medical conditions who live in high risk zip codes, and

• Priority 4 – People age 60-64 with underlying medical conditions.

Houston’s high risk zip codes are geographic areas with people more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness as identified by positivity rate, underlying health condition, economic, and social data.

The department’s waitlist remains open for people age 65 and older and people age 60 and older with chronic health conditions. Those who qualify may call the department’s Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301 to leave a voicemail with their name and phone number. Calls will be returned for screening and scheduling. An online registration portal for those who meet the criteria opens Tuesday at HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.

In addition to the FEMA site, HHD will continue to schedule vaccinations at Bayou City Event Center, Delmar Stadium, it’s health centers and multi service center, and partner federally qualified health centers and pharmacies. People can register for the HoustonRecovers subscription of AlertHouston to learn about new Houston Health Department appointment opportunities through email, text message, voice call, or mobile app push notification.

Harris County Public Health

Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is providing initial vaccinations to those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 that meet the State’s guidelines of 1A and 1B.

Harris County will utilize its current vaccination waitlist: https://vacstrac.hctx.net/landing or individuals can call 832-927-8787 (If registering online do not use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge). Individuals who meet the criteria will be randomly selected from the following age cohorts prioritized first: 75+, 65 – 74, 55 – 64, 45 – 54, 35 – 44, 25 – 34, 25 – 34, and 16 – 24 (16+ due to Pfizer guidelines).

In addition to the age cohorts, HCPH will be prioritizing areas where there have been COVID health disparities (using the CDC’s social vulnerability index and where data shows there are 1) increased COVID cases or deaths and/or COVID undertesting).

In addition, HCPH will continue to provide Moderna vaccinations to the community. To learn more about HCPH’s vaccination efforts, please visit: www.hcphtx.org/covidvaccine.

The NRG Park site is appointment only and people with appointments should arrive no sooner than 30-minutes before their schedule slot. People without appointments will be turned away.

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