Vaccine week 13: Travis County to receive more than 75K doses of vaccine thanks to Johnson & Johnson bump
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.
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.
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Austin Nicholson was ahead of the curve when he got his vasectomy in September 2021, saving himself a long line as Austin-area doctors say the demand for sterilization has seen a “significant” spike since Roe v. Wade was overturned on Friday.
Nicholson, 25, said he would prefer to adopt children, had felt the Supreme Court decision coming for a while, and, wary of the consequences, he decided to pull the trigger and make an appointment.
“A big part of it was the political climate. We could both potentially face consequences and she would definitely face more consequences, which I also personally would not want,” Nicholson said. “I didn't want to be stuck in Texas and have a potential abortion on the mind when it's illegal.”
According to vasectomy specialist Dr. Luke Machen of Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, the clinic received over 150 vasectomy appointment requests combined on Friday and Monday following the ruling. Typically, the clinic performs 45-50 vasectomies per month.
The Austin Urology Institute reported that they received about 70 calls in the first hour after the ruling was released. OBYN at Women’s Health Domain reported receiving over 100 requests from women interested in getting their tubes tied.
“I would say a significant number of patients who scheduled recently have mentioned the Supreme Court case,” Machen said. “A lot of guys have said they were thinking about having a vasectomy over the last year or so, and the ruling was the final push to get it done.”
The average patient at Austin Fertility who receives a vasectomy is about 37, though Machen said he has started to see an increased number of patients with zero children choosing to get a vasectomy. While they put together a study, Machen expects demand for the procedure to plateau but stay higher than before the ruling.
Machen said vasectomy is the most effective form of permanent birth control, requires only about a week of recovery time, is reversible with success rates of up to 95% and has no effects on sexual function or testosterone.
Nicholson said the procedure was less than $700, he was never in any pain, had very little recovery time and has never regretted the decision—in fact, he has happily recommended the procedure to friends.
“It helps me feel better knowing that I won't put a woman in that situation where she'd have to be faced with a potentially life-altering decision, or consequence even,” Nicholson said. “I actually have had three of my friends ask me questions about it and tell me that they were considering it.”
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