Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday officially announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will set up three mass COVID-19 vaccination centers in Texas in the coming weeks, one of which will be right here in Houston at NRG Stadium.
The other two sites will be in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: one at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the other at Fair Park in Dallas. All three sites will be operated by FEMA staff and will be supported by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
"These mass community sites will allow us to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities and help us mitigate the spread of the virus," Abbott said in a statement. "Thank you to our partners at FEMA for working with the State of Texas to establish these vaccination sites and help us protect our most vulnerable."
A press release from Abbott’s office announcing the news said the goal is for these mass vaccine clinics to be open “to eligible members of the public beginning February 24,” and that detail on how to register for appointments “will be announced in the coming days.” Currently, the only Texans who are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents or staff, those who are 65 or older or people with chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk of complications or death from COVID-19.
On Monday, Abbott tweeted that he expected FEMA to launch at least two vaccination sites in Texas that could offer 5,000-6,000 vaccinations each day for eight weeks straight, and that those efforts could be expanded to other locations in Texas eventually.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo welcomed that news in a Monday response to Abbott’s tweet:
Good news. The sooner we increase vaccine supply, the faster we can reach herd immunity. We’re ready to support State and Biden Administration efforts to distribute more vaccines. There are ~300K people on our waitlist & we’re able to distribute more vaccines than we’re getting. https://t.co/RPdKeLisL1— Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) February 8, 2021
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement Wednesday celebrating the new local vaccination center:
"On behalf of all Houstonians, I thank the White House for its plan to establish a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at NRG Park in Houston. Getting the vaccine into the arms of as many people as possible as quickly as possible is vital to ending this pandemic and saving lives.
"We look forward to working with FEMA, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Harris County to iron out the details, including registration and access. We must work collaboratively to vaccinate as many people as possible and in a targeted way to include a diverse population."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.