Mayor Sylvester Turner gives COVID-19 vaccination update and talks crack down on bars

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Minute Maid Park, Houston's newest COVID-19 vaccination site, administered 5,000 vaccinations Saturday morning, according to health officials.

Mayor Sylvester Turner visited the site, as the vaccinations were being administered by the Houston Health Department.

The Houston Health Department tweeted a reminder that appointments for Monday were full.



Since the mega site is not drive-thru, one thing that helps operations run smoothly is the large police presence directing people where they need to park and where to go from there.

"It's a large operation. There might be glitches every now and then, but I assure you vaccinations are not sitting on shelves," said Mayor Turner.

Despite the efforts to get people vaccinated, he said the COVID-19 positivity rate is still much higher than anyone would like.

"I'm still getting some disturbing pictures of people hanging out in clubs that have been recategorized as restaurants," he said. "And let me tell you, they are not restaurants."

Turner said he will be calling on TABC to crack down on the reclassifications. He said he's been in communication with Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena. He and his department are expected to be reviewing some of those restaurants Saturday night.

"When you look at these pictures, there's no food on the table," Turner said. "That is crazy. I am calling on the state to review their policies."

He said loop holes like these are making it very difficult for the city to achieve getting rid of the virus.

"TABC continues to conduct more than 1,000 inspections each week, which includes responding to reports of potential violations," TABC later said in a statement. "We are aware of the videos which surfaced this weekend and have already opened our own investigation."

The center at Minute Maid Park is one of the three mega sites operating in the Houston area.

WATCH: Minute Maid Park draws crowd waiting on COVID-19 vaccine
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In video released by the Houston Health Department, people could be seen filling seats at the ballpark Saturday as they waited for the vaccine.



Memorial Herman is set to give out 13,000 vaccinations from Thursday to Sunday at NRG, which works out to about 3,200 a day. The extra 2,000 slots the hospital added for NRG's drive-thru clinic this weekend are now full.

The spots were added to the schedule for Jan. 16 and Jan. 17, according to a release from the hospital. After about an hour, the hospital announced they had all been taken.

Houston Methodist Hospital will be giving out 4,000 shots. During this event, Memorial Hermann plans to vaccinate people who are 65 or older, which is based on the state's vaccination distribution Phase 1B guidelines.

Many of the surrounding county health departments, including Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller, Brazoria and Galveston counties, did not receive additional doses this last week.

Many of those leaders have voiced their frustration and want to be able to do for their residents what Houston is doing today.

The state health department said the state will receive 333,650 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week. The Texas Department of State Health Services instructed the CDC to ship the doses to 260 providers across Texas.

In the past week, Texas became the first state to administer 1 million doses of the vaccine.

In addition to the first doses, the state is also ordering about 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people who were first vaccinated a few weeks ago.

WATCH: Houston city leaders outline plan to widen vaccine availability
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The COVID-19 vaccine capacity continues to grow while appointments fill up quickly. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner outlines the Houston Health Department's efforts so far.



You can also check with your primary care provider and local pharmacy, or the Texas Department of State Health Services' COVID-19 vaccine availability map.

READ MORE: Track COVID-19 vaccine availability and progress across Houston
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In the video, watch our ABC13 team walk you through using the vaccine tracker within this page.



The video above is from a previous story.


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