HOUSTON – A panel of experts from the Texas Department of State Health Services gave the public an update on COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution on Thursday.
The DSHS health experts said Johnson & Johnson applied for an emergency use authorization for its single-shot vaccine. A decision that is set to be discussed by the FDA on Feb. 26, if approved, the vaccine could be available as early as March.
Health experts said the vaccine is 85% protective against the most serious symptoms, has less severe side effects, and no hospitalizations where it was tested. It has proved to be 66% effective at preventing the virus altogether.
Officials said the vaccine is a more durable and a more stable protein.
The panel also addressed who will be included in the next rollout phase of vaccine eligibility. They said they have not made a decision on who is next for the next group vaccine and depends on the vaccine supply Texas receives.
Officials said second doses of the vaccine come in every week. They said pharmacies who want to provide the vaccine need to place an order at an appropriate time. Officials said every provider who receives the first shipment will be guaranteed a second shipment, even if it is not on time.
Officials said providers can request a specific vaccine but because of demand, honor may not be made. Officials said providers have the ability to reject but will not be guaranteed those vaccines will be replaced.