You no longer need an appointment to get a Covid-19 vaccine at NRG.

On Monday afternoon Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that, effective immediately, appointments are no longer required for folks to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the FEMA-supported community vaccination center in an effort to get more people to show up.

Hidalgo said that demand at NRG is down. The mass vaccination site, which can vaccinate a total of 6,000–7,000 people a day has only been seeing about 2,000–3,000 people each day recently, she said. “Now there is more supply than there is demand.”

That dip could be because the people willing to drive for a vaccine already have, Hidalgo said, as well as the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration and general misinformation about the vaccines.

To combat that, she said they were trying to make it as easy as possible for folks to access the NRG site. Last week, Harris County introduced to an on-demand appointment system, doing away with the anxiety-inducing waitlist. That saw a slight bump in vaccinations, but not enough, said Hidalgo.

So now people aged 16 and up can just show up at NRG (via Gate 16A off Main Street) to get a shot. You don’t even need to be in a car anymore. People can walk up, get dropped off, ride their bikes, you name it, to NRG and won’t be turned away.

Hours at the site have also been changed: Instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the hours will be noon to 9 p.m., starting Wednesday, April 21. This is to give working families time come by after they’ve clocked out for the day.

The appointment system is still there for the people who want it, said Hidalgo, but now there’s “no need to hunt around different websites.”

Since the NRG site opened two months ago, more than 500,000 people have been vaccinated there, over a fifth of the total number of vaccines administered in Harris County. But only a quarter of county residents are fully vaccinated. “We’ve got a long way to go to herd immunity,” Hidalgo said. “We’re not out of the woods, but we can be out of the woods, if you get vaccinated.”

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