Austin (KXAN) — The Texas Department of State Health Services tells KXAN the Lone Star State is scheduled to receive its first doses of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
DSHS said the first shipment to the state will include 24,000 doses, which will be destined for the three large FEMA vaccination sites in Houston, Dallas and Arlington.
Next week, DSHS expects to have 200,000 doses of the J&J vaccine available for the state.
The Associated Press reported nearly four million doses of this new COVID-19 vaccine would be shipped overnight Sunday to be delivered to states for first injections starting Tuesday. This came after advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted overwhelmingly to recommend the vaccine for adults 18 years old and up. The ruling followed emergency clearance of the vaccine by U.S. regulators a day earlier.
In contrast to the two other COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S. prior to this week, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. In another difference from the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson drug does not have to be kept in a freezer. This means the newly approved vaccine will be easier to store and transport.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown a 72% efficacy rate against mild to severe or critical disease among U.S. trial participants. It’s more effective against severe forms of the disease, with about 85% protection.
While at face value the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may appear less effective than Moderna and Pfizer’s versions, as CNN has reported, health experts note that the J&J vaccine is good at protecting against severe forms of the disease and should not be viewed as an inferior option.