If you are among the 300,000 people who are signed up and waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine from Harris County, your chances of getting a shot have greatly improved.
On February 22, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, FEMA regional director Tony Robinson, and other local authorities unveiled the details of the federally supported, state-managed COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic.
Since its announcement a few weeks ago, workers have been building the temporary mass vaccination facility. It will be a drive-through facility in the Yellow Lot at NRG Park.
"People deserve some good news, some hope," Hidalgo said. "This site marks the biggest effort to date to get our community vaccinated."
A limited number of doses are expected to be provided as part of a soft launch on Tuesday, February 23, with the site expected to get fully online by Wednesday, February 24. The plan is to serve 6,000 people per day, seven days a week. It will then transition into second doses in three weeks.
Organizers say at a minimum, the federal site is expected to vaccinate 126,000 people. That's in addition to the county, city, hospital, and pharmacy vaccinations that continue to be underway.
According to Hidalgo, they will be vaccinating those who live in the ZIP codes hit hard by the virus.
"All of us at the state, federal and local level, we're in agreement that this site has to focus on the folks who've been left behind so far, who've been hit the hardest by COVID-19," Hidalgo said. "We've done it by finding zip codes with the highest incidence of the virus, and the highest social vulnerability and the social vulnerability index."
The ZIP codes are the following: 77022, 77029, 77032, 77078, 77087, 77093, 77502, 77504, 77506, 77587, 77011, 77012, 77015, 77016, 77020, 77026, 77028, 77033, 77037, 77038, 77039, 77048, 77086, 77091, 77503, 77060, 77080, 77099, 77013, 77014, 77036, 77050, 77051, 77076, and 77090.
Hidalgo added that the individuals 65 and older on the waitlist who come from the city's and the county's top 10 zip codes will receive top priority for the vaccines on the site.
The next priority group will be those people who are 65 years and older.
"Then we will prioritize individuals next from the rest of the 25 hardest-hit zip codes before pulling from the broader waitlist," Hidalgo said. This group will be those 60 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions living in high risk zip codes.
The fourth priority group will be those 60 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions.
FEMA is using the waitlist from Harris County and the city of Houston. Individuals are being contacted for appointments.
To join the waitlist for the city of Houston, visit their website at houstonemergency.org/covid-19-vaccines or call 832-393-4301.
Harris County's waitlist can be reached at vacstrac.hctx.net.
For more on this story, visit our news partner ABC13.