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Mayor Turner to get first dose of Moderna vaccine

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will get his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

He visited with residents Sunday at the city’s first public COVID-19 vaccine site at the Bayou City Event Center. Appointments there were fully booked for the second day in a row, but people could still call to make an appointment later this week.

In a tweet posted by Turner on Sunday, a total of 986 people were vaccinated.

Those who were able to get through the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 call center and successfully schedule an appointment received their first dose of the vaccine. Afterward, they were monitored for about 15 to 30 minutes to see if they experienced any side effects.

“We couldn’t wait to come,” said a Houston resident. “Matter of fact, we were on the phone [Saturday] for, I guess, close to four hours trying to get signed in.”

According to the state’s health department’s vaccine data dashboard, as of Sunday, Jan. 3, Harris County received 192,600 vaccinations to distribute and has administered at least 56,642 first doses.

Turner said the city is trying to increase the number of doses administered each day at its public vaccination site. The city’s also working to open additional mass sites in the future. However, he said there are challenges ahead.

“We need the dollars from the last stimulus package to get here as quickly as possible,” he explained. “As you know, they didn’t pass that until the end of the year … the very end. So, a lot of this hampering the ability to ramp up to hire significantly more people, because, in order to have all of these sites, you need to really have ubiquitous vaccinations, widespread vaccinations. You need more staffing, quite a bit, and the ability to set up mobile sites and the ability to go to people’s homes to actually vaccinate them.”

If you meet the requirements to get your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1B and want to make an appointment at the city’s public vaccination clinic, you can call the city’s health department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 or visit the city of Houston’s vaccine website.