COVID-19 vaccine appointments on pause as historic cold weather nears Houston-area

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This week, people have lined up on the campus of Texas Southern University to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But as potentially historic cold weather approaches, those appointments may be put on pause.

TSU has partnered with Baylor St. Luke's to provide vaccines in the communities surrounding the university. The effort is specifically targeting elderly people in vulnerable populations.

On Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner and other Houston-area health experts addressed the vaccine availability as well as how the city is preparing for the winter weather.

"We expect Monday and Tuesday to be the coldest day, so we want people to be weather aware. Weather alert. It may not be the best day to drive on Monday and Tuesday," Turner said.

Vernon Whitehead, 71, said she has been trying to get vaccinated at TSU for weeks with no luck.

"It wasn't available. It either was short or the line was too long or they ran out or they told you to come back," Whitehead said.

With an arctic blast on the way and ice and snow in the forecast, those who are set to get a dose early next week may have to wait.

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"There may be some temporary delays for Monday and Tuesday because of the weather," Turner said.

Those who got their first dose through Memorial Hermann at NRG a few weeks ago may also have to wait for their second one.

"We've had to reschedule those. Now, we've been able to do that. We contacted everybody, they know when their rescheduled appointment is. But clearly, if we get freezing precipitation on Monday and then again on Wednesday, we may have to adjust the schedule further," said Dr. David Callender, the CEO of Memorial Hermann.

As of Friday, the drive-thru site at NRG will remain open Saturday and Sunday. Officials said nothing has been canceled.

FEMA has plans to vaccinate thousands at NRG Stadium starting the week of Feb. 22, according to Mayor Turner.

SEE ALSO: FEMA-backed Houston vaccine super site in the works, Texas Gov. Abbott says

For now, Whitehead says when your number is called, make sure you do your part, especially if you're a person of color.

"It's very important that every minority individual take the vaccine," Whitehead said.

The vaccination clinic at TSU is not open to the public. People who wish to get a vaccine must sign up for an appointment in order to get the one.

Elsewhere, Fort Bend County's vaccination hub at Smart Financial Centre was canceled due to inclement weather. The county health department advised patients to reschedule for an appointment on a later date.

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