Nearly 1 million Texans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccination and more vaccine doses are on the way to areas of the state.
Also on the way to help inoculate residents, is a third vaccine in development and that requires only one shot for full immunization, said Saroj Rai, Texas Department of State Health Services scientific advisor and vaccinologist.
“We could potentially have a third vaccine available in the very near future to fight against this deadly disease,” Rai said. “Specifically, we’re talking about the Janssen Biotech vaccine, which Jansen is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and the company has filed an application with the FDA for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine.
“The important thing about this vaccine is that it’s a single-dose vaccine, which we know is different than Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine, which are two-dose vaccines.”
The new vaccine is intended for adults 18 years old and older, she said. Janssen has not received emergency use approval but representatives are scheduled to meet with Food and Drug Administration officials on Feb. 26 to seek the go-ahead, Rai said.
The first of March is the earliest the third vaccine could receive emergency use authorization in the U.S., she said Thursday during an update of the state’s vaccine situation.
Rai joined DSHS Associated Commissioner Imelda Garcia in the online meeting. Garcia spoke about the job Texas vaccine providers are doing to administer doses.
Healthcare workers across the state have administered more than 3.66 million doses of vaccine as of Thursday afternoon, Garcia said. The number represented an increase of more than 900,000 doses from the week before, she said.
More than 2.7 million people have received at least one dose and about 960,000 Texans are fully vaccinated with both doses, Garcia said.
This week, the state expects to ship more than 400,000 first doses of vaccine to about 300 providers, she said. About 80,000 more doses are slated for about 376 pharmacy locations this week as part of a federal program, Garcia said.
“This is really good news because it means that more vaccine is coming in more places for more Texans,” she said. “You may have heard [Wednesday’s] announcement that FEMA will be partnering with our state and local governments to operate vaccine sites in Houston and North Texas. FEMA has said the vaccine for those sites won’t come out of our current allocation and that this is indeed new vaccine doses coming to the state.”
According to the DSHS website, providers had administered 15,617 vaccine doses as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday in Guadalupe County.
Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .