Hundreds of vaccine slots still available hours after site opens

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Hundreds of appointments remained unclaimed Monday after several hours into the opening of a Memorial Hermann COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the University of Houston.

The hospital system partnered with the university to host a site in their indoor football practice facility with the hope of vaccinating 4,000 people.

An hour before it opened, a spokesperson for Memorial Hermann said they still had 1,000 unclaimed appointments. Four hours in, they said 600 were still available.

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Harris County Public Health said it is easier for people to get appointments now because their efforts and the availability of the shot have expanded.

When they first launched their waitlist system, a spokesperson said it could take anywhere from days to weeks to be able to schedule their appointment. Reason being, the county was administering shots depending on a person's eligibility and the supply of the vaccine.

Now, people who sign up will be able to schedule their appointment within 24 hours.

The Houston Health Department also said they fill all of their open slots weekly.

Both health systems are doing outreach, particularly in areas considered "higher risk."

Each shot that is given is a step closer to reaching herd immunity.

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The Texas Department of State Health Services records show that 37.61% of the population has been vaccinated.

In Harris County, 23% of people ages 16 and up have been fully vaccinated.

Those hoping to be vaccinated must register in advance.

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