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Vaccine week 13: Travis County to receive more than 75K doses of vaccine thanks to Johnson & Johnson bump
(Austin Public Health/Twitter)

Eighty-seven providers in Travis County will receive a total of 75,540 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the week of March 8 as part of the 13th weekly allocation, a nearly 62% increase compared to last week's. The significant increase is largely due to inclusion of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received an emergency use authorization from the FDA last weekend.

The bulk will go to hub providers Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin, the clinical wing of Dell Medical School, as well as to Seton Medical Center, which will receive the largest share of this week's shipment. These three providers will either receive doses from Moderna or Pfizer.

Other providers will mostly receive smaller shipments of between 100 and 500 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, although some will receive initial doses of the Moderna vaccine. Two Travis County providers that will receive doses as part of this week's allocation are not open to the public: the Texas Department of State Health Services' pharmacy warehouse, which will receive 25,700 doses, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which will receive 1,000.

A full list of Travis County providers can be found here.

Although these providers may have doses to administer next week, many are limiting their supply to existing patient waitlists or reaching out to eligible candidates directly. Seton, for example, is reviewing the medical records of existing primary care patients and contacting those who fall into the 1B category to schedule appointments. A list of providers with a waitlist can be found here.

Some providers, however, are starting to anticipate widened eligibility criteria in light of DSHS' announcement earlier this week that school employees and childcare providers now qualify and as state officials mull over the next phase—1C, which will likely include essential workers. APH will debut a weekly School Saturdays vaccine event, targeted at educators who are already registered on the department's waitlist, and UT Health Austin is now encouraging anyone who is interested in receiving a vaccine to sign up here, Chief Clinical Officer Amy Young wrote in an email to the University of Texas at Austin community on Friday.

With this latest allocation, Travis County will have received 309,055 initial or single doses. There are approximately 532,468 Travis County residents who qualify for a vaccine as a member of group 1A (healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents) or 1B (people 65 years or older and those with a medical condition) or as an educator or child care provider, according to DSHS data. This accounts for more than half of the estimated population 16 years of age or older.

As of Friday afternoon, 157,468 Travis County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 79,209 residents—or around 6.2% of the overall population—have received both doses, according to DSHS.

Texas will receive more than 1 million initial doses of the vaccine next week. DSHS will allocate 929,320 doses to 1,651 providers across the state, focusing n hub providers capable of widespread community distribution as well as smaller providers serving older adults. This represents a 37% increase compared to last week's allocation and includes 84,240 doses for large-scale FEMA vaccine clinics in Houston and North Texas.

The federal government will also provide more than 200,000 doses to pharmacy locations and federally-qualified health centers directly. Participating Texas pharmacies include CVS, H-E-B and Walmart. CVS and Walmart do not currently list any Austin area stores with vaccine appointments. Participating H-E-B locations can be found here.

DSHS will allocate 676,280 initial doses of the COVID vaccine to 522 providers across the state next week, focusing on hub providers capable of widespread community distribution as well as smaller providers serving older adults. This represents a 37% increase compared to last week's allocation and includes 110,240 doses for large-scale FEMA vaccine clinics in Houston and North Texas. In addition, Texas is ordering 457,000 second doses for people who received their first shot three to four weeks ago.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine was found to be around 66% effective against moderate to severe symptoms 28 days after vaccination in a worldwide study. Although the two previously approved vaccines—from Pfizer and Moderna—are around 95% effective, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers significant advantages:

  • It's easier to store and ship because it does not require refrigeration.
  • It only requires one shot, which means the same number of Johnson & Johnson doses can vaccine twice as many people as Pfizer or Moderna doses.
  • It has proven to be mostly effective against new strains of the disease, which emerged after clinic trials were conducted for Pfizer and Moderna's candidates.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine "is extremely effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death—the goal with any vaccine—and only requires one dose," a DSHS spokesperson wrote in an email to Austonia earlier this week.


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