2,600 appointments filled in 16 minutes for Houston COVID-19 vaccine mega site

It only took 16 minutes to fill the 2,600 appointments that opened on Friday morning for a COVID-19 vaccination mega site at Minute Maid Park.

The Houston Health Department and Astros Foundation are partnering for the mega site on January 16. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only.

The department plans to vaccinate approximately 5,000 people through 2,400 pre-scheduled appointments and the 2,600 new appointments that opened on Friday.

The portal to sign up for the appointments opened at 10 a.m., but the slots were quickly filled.

Saturday's mega site is for the first dose of the vaccine. People who receive their first dose from the health department will be contacted and provided information about where to schedule their second dose within the appropriate timeframe.

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The health department says people should arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before their appointment time to ensure site efficiency and reduce wait times. Officials say it is important for people to park in lots A or B to begin the registration process. Minute Maid Park's home plate entrance will be used for the clinic.

People who fall under Phase 1A and 1B are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in Texas. This includes those who are frontline healthcare workers, those who are 65 and older, or those 16 and older with a serious medical condition.

On January 2, the health department began administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to the general public who qualify under the state’s guidelines.

On Thursday, the health department received an additional 8,200 doses of vaccine, bringing its total to 30,350.

The health department says, as of Thursday, they have administered a total of 18,658 doses at locations including Minute Maid Park, Bayou City Event Center, its Northside, La Nueva Casa de Amigos, Sharpstown and Sunnyside health centers, the JW Peavy Senior Center, and its Acres Homes, Hiram Clarke and Magnolia multi-service centers.

Appointments full as drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic begins at NRG Park

About 13,000 people are expected to get their COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic in an NRG Park parking lot over the next four days. Unfortunately, no more spots are available.

The department also transferred a total of 1,900 doses to other providers.

The health department will announce additional vaccination opportunities at its health centers, multi-service centers, community locations and via mobile units as supply increases.

Officials say appointments are based on vaccine availability, and current appointments may be adjusted based on the department’s allotment.