A familiar luxury Houston high-rise is receiving international attention of late, but not for its amenities or the upscale lifestyle it offers. Instead, the Montebello in Uptown is making headlines for its residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines — while others wait.
The Daily Beast first reported the story, asking “Why Did This Swanky High-Rise in Houston Get Vaccines Ahead of Most People?” According to the story, some 60 Montebello residents directly received COVID vaccinations at a time when at-risk Houstonians are desperately searching for injections. Since the Beast’s story published, news outlets around the country — and even across the pond — have jumped on the bandwagon.
Asked as to how the residents received the inoculations, Montebello general manager Daniel Hancock told the Daily Beast that the “state of Texas authorized it. “He added that the building is “working with a distributor... it’s a blessing we were able to get it.” He also cited the high-rise’s large number of elderly residents as a factor.
CultureMap reached out to Hancock for additional comment. He declined to name the distributor or comment on any more inoculations, but supplied this statement:
These shots were given by Texas Vaccine Institute, an authorized provider to people in Group 1B (specifically 65 and older) as expressly encouraged by the State of Texas. It is my understanding that many other high rise buildings with similar populations also received vaccines designated for Group 1B.
Why the hubbub? Some are crying foul, as The Montebello isn’t on the state’s list of vaccine recipients — which lists hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, and health-care clinics only — or shown on the state’s map of vaccine provider locations, the Daily Beast notes.
“All the distributors have to register through the state health department,” Porfirio Villareal of the City of Houston’s health department told The Daily Beast. “The apartment complex is not an approved provider. If a site is not approved, not on the list, and receiving shipments of the vaccine, then our recommendation is not to go to that site.”
CultureMap will update this story as it develops.