HOUSTON — The city of Houston is ramping up its distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thousands of people turned out for another mass distribution of the shot on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
At about 11 a.m. Saturday, the Houston Health Department announced approximately 1,000 new COVID-19 vaccine appointments became available Saturday for Houstonians who meet the state's Phase 1A and Phase 1B criteria.
Within 30 minutes, all the slots were taken.
The city’s goal is to use every dose that’s available immediately.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at first the city had planned to match last week’s goal where they gave out more than 1,000 vaccines at the Bayou Event Center.
“We got a shipment that came in on Friday morning that was unexpected,” Mayor Turner said.
He said those vaccines weren’t expected to arrive until next week.
The Houston Health Department was able to open up 1,000 more slots on Saturday because of the extra doses.
“And in a matter of less than 20 minutes, those 1,000 were gone,” Mayor Turner said.
The city said it triples what they’ve done on any given day.
“Through the preregistration, we are going to be able to do up to about 3,600 today," Mayor Turner said.
The vaccine clinic at Minute Maid is considered a "super mega site," and more importantly, a success.
However, Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department, said there’s still a huge demand for the vaccine.
“Although you see this operation here, I can tell you that I have staff that are across town taking thousands of call and inquiries regarding COVID,” Williams said.
He hopes to open at least two sites in the near future: one at the Bayou Event Center and another on the north side of town.
“I’m sure as vaccines become available, and if we can push out 3,000, 5,000, 6,000 like on the weekend at a site like this, we plan to do it," Williams said.
The mayor’s ultimate goal is at least 10,000 shots in arms a day.
COVID-19 vaccination location
The Bayou Event Center is closed this weekend for vaccination appointments. Those who had appointments scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sun, Jan 10. at the Bayou Event Center should report to Minute Maid Park at their scheduled appointment time on Saturday.
Minute Maid Park will not be operating as a vaccination site on Sunday.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Houston
You must have an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Houston Health Department is urging Houstonians to not just show up at the vaccination site. An appointment is required and people who show up without an appointment will be turned away.
The health department is contacting people in its appointment queue to inform them of the new location and provide instructions on what to do upon arrival.
People with appointments should arrive no earlier than 15-minutes before their scheduled time to ensure site efficiency and reduce wait times.
Remember, only those included in the state's Phase 1A and Phase 1B vaccination plan are allowed to get the vaccine at this time.