Online registration opens for COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Houston

(Photo by Frank Molter/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Those in certain high-risk groups can now register online for an appointment to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in Houston, officials announced.

The Houston Health Department launched the online registration site on Monday. A Spanish version is anticipated to launch later in the day.

Those eligible to sign up for the vaccine include those prioritized as Phase 1A and 1B under the State of Texas' vaccine distribution plan.

According to the Health Department, people age 65 and older and people age 18 and older with at least one chronic medical condition putting them at increased risk of severe illness and death — Phase 1B — may sign up to get the vaccine.

Officials say medical conditions placing people at high risk include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart conditions, solid organ transplantation, obesity and severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and type 2 diabetes.

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Frontlines healthcare workers who have yet to receive the vaccine also are eligible to sign up to get the shot through the health department. Healthcare workers are grouped as part of Phase 1A .

The department currently offers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, recommended for people 18 years of age and older under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.

To make an appoint, visit the online registration page here.

Appointments are also available through the health department's COVID-19 call center by calling 832-393-4220. The call center is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hours extended until 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

People will receive an appointment time and the location of the vaccination clinic site during the registration process. Staff with the department will screen people when they first arrive at the clinic site, direct them to a secure area to receive the vaccination and monitor them for any adverse reaction for 15 minutes.

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"The Houston Health Department is doing a phenomenal job getting the vaccine directly to people. The new online registration, in addition to the call center, will make the process more efficient. While there is great public demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, there is also a lot of hesitancy. I understand the concerns, but I encourage all eligible Houstonians to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of the deadly virus," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Officials say the Health Department will ramp up local vaccination efforts and announce other free vaccination opportunities as additional doses become more plentiful in the coming weeks and months.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, including safety and efficacy.