Coronavirus

How To Get A COVID-19 Vaccine In The Houston Area — If You Qualify, And If It’s Available

Vaccines are limited, and are only going to those populations who qualify so far. But here’s how to find a vaccination clinic.

A Houston Public Works employee gets vaccinated on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020.

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Updated 8:17 p.m. CT Tuesday

Texas has moved into vaccination Phase 1B, allowing people 65 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as anyone 16 and older with underlying chronic health conditions. And in Harris and surrounding counties, public health departments have begun opening clinics for those who qualify.

In order to sign up, each county has a separate registration portal. But slots fill up almost immediately after opening, and because of that, there's no guarantee you can find a slot through local health departments.

To that end, the state has set up an online dashboard to find the closest private hospital, clinic, or other vaccine location. And if your primary care doctor is a vaccine distributor, it may be possible to coordinate through them.

If you do want to find a public site, here's how to register across the region.

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

[To see all free vaccination sites across Texas, click here]

Houston and Harris County

The city launched a new registration portal Monday, providing vaccine information and a schedule for those who fit the Phase 1A and 1B criteria. For those who do, all you need is a ZIP code in the Houston area. For now, the only available location is the Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Road in Southwest Houston. Qualified Houstonians can also call 832-393-4220. In its opening weekend, the clinic served close to 2,000 people. And appointments are filled through January.

The Houston Health Department said vaccine shipments were intended for Houston residents only, but under an agreement to receive those shipments, the department can not turn away other people within the Houston area.

Harris County took down its COVID-19 vaccination portal late Friday after it mistakenly allowed people who did not qualify to sign up, the Houston Chronicle reported. The county is now pointing the public to the state’s online dashboard of free COVID-19 testing in Texas.

Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County still hadn't received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine through January. That changed Tuesday, as County Judge KP George said the county has finally received 1,000 doses — enough for just 500 people, for now. But the county’s preregistration system has reached capacity. Local hospitals and clinics are still vaccinating people. Head to the state’s online dashboard to find the closest vaccine location.

Montgomery County

In Montgomery County, vaccines are being distributed through the Texas Department of State Health Services directly to hospitals, pharmacies, physicians' offices and clinics, according to the county’s public health department. The Public Health Clinic received just 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, allocated to First Responders, Public Health staff, health care workers and employees. The county itself is not involved in mass distribution to the public. When vaccines do become available, MCPHD will begin to vaccinate some of the general public that fit the Phase 1 criteria.

An appointment portal can be found here, once it launches. The health department said it will not accept appointments by phone.

Head to the state’s online dashboard to find the closest vaccine location.

Galveston County

Starting Thursday, Jan. 7, the county will begin accepting appointments for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 phone bank opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday. For appointments, call 409.547.4015. Right now the public site is only vaccinating people 65 and up, but as more shipments arrive in coming weeks, the health district will expand eligibility as allowable. Others can head to the state’s online dashboard to find the closest vaccine location.

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Paul DeBenedetto

Senior Producer

Paul DeBenedetto is Houston Public Media's senior web producer, writing and editing stories for HoustonPublicMedia.org. Before joining the station, Paul worked as a web producer for the Houston Chronicle, and his work has appeared online and in print for the Chronicle, the New York Times, DNAinfo New York, and other...

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