Some happy news: Covid-19 vaccines have been in Houston for about a month now, and more than 120,000 folks in Harris County have received their first shot. And while there’s been some inconsistency, the state keeps sending us shipments of more doses. 

But that hasn’t halted the confusion over the vaccines and how the average Houstonian can get the two shots. Do I qualify? Where can I go? Do I have to go to the hospital? 

Here now is what Houstonians need to know about how and where to get the Covid-19 vaccine within the Bayou City area. Remember, it’s going to take some time for everyone to get a shot, so be patient and wear a mask. 

How to Sign Up

The Houston Health Department has a Covid-19 portal where you can find information about the coronavirus, fact sheets about the two different vaccines currently available (Pfizer and Moderna), and how to sign up for an appointment. Houstonians can also call the hotline at 832-393-4220 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and  from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There are no available appointments left in January to receive the vaccine from HHD (although the department has opened up last-minute appointments, so keep your eyes peeled).

However, HHD is only one of three state-designated vaccine hubs in Houston. People can also sign up for vaccines through Harris County Public Health’s portal, as well as through Houston Methodist

When appointments open back up, getting the vaccine could be as simple as heading to your local pharmacy or grocer, like Walgreens or Kroger. Call your local provider to check, but Houston residents will be able to get the shot at H-E-B by online appointment or at CVS by scheduling online, via app, or by phone.

All of the Covid-19 vaccine providers within 50 miles of the Houstonia office via this DSHS map. 

Where to Get Vaccinated

Since the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine in December, more health centers around Houston have been able to provide the shot to Houstonians. With each new shipment local hubs receive, they transfer portions of those to local providers.  

HHD’s Vaccination Locations 

  • Minute Maid Park – 501 Crawford St.
  • Bayou City Event Center –  9401 Knight Rd
  • Northside Health Center – 8504 Schuller Rd
  • La Nueva Casa de Amigos – 1806 Keene St.
  • Sharpstown Health Services – 6201 Bonhomme Rd
  • Sunnyside Health Centers – 4605 Wilmington St.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has a life-saving tool for folks looking to find a provider with vaccines. This map shows how many vaccines are currently available in your area. You can also type in your address, and the program will list all of the providers near you with available doses. 

Who Is Eligible

At this time, those who wish to receive the Covid-19 vaccine must fulfill the state’s requirements for Phase 1A or Phase 1B. Phase 1A relates to health care workers and those in direct contact with patients while giving emergency care. This phase has two different tiers of qualifications that fall under it. Phase 1B caters toward those older than 65, as well as those older than 16 with a medical condition. See below for the full list of those who qualify from the Texas Department of State Health Services:  

Phase 1A: First Tier 

  • Paid and unpaid workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for Covid-19, such as (but not limited to): 
    • Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.) 
    • Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation services 
    • Others who have direct contact with patients or infectious materials 
  • Long-term care facility staff working directly with vulnerable residents. This includes:
    • Direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and state-supported living centers 
    • Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial workers, and food service staff 
  • EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services, like pre-hospital care and transport 
  • Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients 
  • Residents of long-term care facilities

Phase 1A: Second Tier                                                                                                    

  • Staff in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients, such as (but not limited to):
    • Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
  • Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services 
    • Those who provide non 9-1-1 transport for routine care 
    • Health care workers in correctional and detention facilities
  • Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics 
  • Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or Covid-19 testing
  • Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of Covid-19 testing and vaccinations
  • Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to those who died from Covid-19. This includes:  
    • Embalmers and funeral home workers who have direct contact with the decedents 
    • Medical examiners and other medical certifiers who have direct contact with decedents 
  • School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers

Phase 1B

  • People 65 years of age and older 
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for a severe case of Covid-19, such as (but not limited to):
    • Cancer 
    • Chronic kidney disease 
    • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher) 
    • Pregnancy 
    • Sickle cell disease 
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
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