On Sunday, the CDC followed the FDA and approved Johnson and Johnson’s new COVID-19 vaccine. It’s believed the company could start shipping vaccines nationwide as early as Monday.
"It means we’ll be able to vaccinate more people quicker," said Porfirio Villarreal, a spokesperson from the Houston Health Department.
According to a spokesperson from Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Texas is expected to receive more than 200,000 initial doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
"Early indications are that over 200,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses will be allocated to Texas by the federal government," said a spokesperson from DSHS. "We do not yet know when those doses will be available to ship. DSHS will release information on the number of doses, where they will be allocated to and when they will ship to providers when we have it. We anticipate having more details about how the J&J vaccine fits into our vaccine allocation process in the next few days."
"We anticipate we will be getting a shipment in this week," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "So, more people will be getting the vaccine. Much more."
So far, roughly 5.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Texans, including about 500,000 in Harris County.
On Sunday, we interviewed Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor College of Medicine about the addition of a new Coronavirus vaccine.
"[It means] more vaccines, eventually," said Dr. Hotez. "Not right now. Right now, it’s not going to have a big impact I suspect for much of the month of March."
The new vaccine is different compared to its two predecessors. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines require two doses and storage in extremely cold freezers. In comparison, Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is just one dose and doesn’t require storage in extreme freezers.
"More pharmacies and more clinics will be able to have [Johnson and Johnson] in stock," said Villarreal.
Johnson and Johnson is promising 20 million doses nationwide by the end of March. Currently in Texas, COVID-19 vaccines are limited to medical workers, people at least 65-years-old, or those considered high risk.
"Once the summer comes, we should have hundreds of millions of doses," said Dr. Hotez. "The hope is we can abandon the whole tier structure."
Of the three COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Hotez says the best one to get is whichever one is first available to you.