Austin vaccine updates: More than 20,000 Johnson & Johnson doses coming to Travis County providers; Austin Public Health expands registration

Photo of a vaccine clinic in a gym
Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

On April 5, Austin Public Health expanded registration access for coronavirus vaccine appointments to include people age 40 and up and announced the agency's intention to expand access incrementally moving forward.

Texans age 16 and up became eligible to receive a vaccine March 29, with people ages 16-17 only allowed to receive Pfizer vaccine. APH has yet to open its supply to all eligible residents, however, and has said it will continue to prioritize vaccinations “by age and risk for severe disease” as it gradually expands access to the general public.

“APH will notify the public again when appointment scheduling expands beyond this group,” APH said in a statement.

The change comes after thousands of APH appointments remained unfilled during an April 1 registration window. Those unfilled appointments, APH said, were primarily for slots April 6 and were set to be offered to vaccine seekers again April 5, the first evening that people ages 40-49 have been admitted. The public provider continues to open its registration portal on Monday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. and also offered an advance window the morning of April 5 to high-priority registrants, including medical workers, teachers, seniors and people with high-risk medical conditions.

This week, APH is set to receive 12,000 more Moderna doses as well as 1,000 Johnson & Johnson shots. The Johnson & Johnson doses are bound for direct outreach to vulnerable community members through APH’s mobile vaccination program and collaborations with community partner organizations, a representative from APH told Community Impact Newspaper. Only Moderna doses will be available at the entity’s mass vaccination events this week.

On a statewide level, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued its largest allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses yet during the week of April 5, shipping more than 2.5 million first-round doses across the state. Some 152,070 of those doses are headed to Travis County, most of which are Johnson & Johnson doses.

While 152,000 Johnson & Johnson doses will be shipped to Travis County providers this week, 100,000 are earmarked for the DSHS Central Pharmacy Warehouse and will be used in statewide vaccination efforts, such as the Save Our Seniors initiative. Another 1,100 are headed to the Texas Department of Public Safety and will be similarly employed. Some 22,900 Johnson & Johnson doses are headed to more than 100 Travis County vaccine providers this week, including pharmacies, such as Walgreens, H-E-B and Randalls.

While most providers will receive small allocations between 100 and 500 doses, Ascension Seton Medical Center is set to get 11,700 Pfizer shots, the second-highest allocation behind APH.

See the full list of Texas vaccine allocations for the week of April 5 here.
By Olivia Aldridge

Multi-Platform Journalist

Olivia hosts and produces Community Impact Newspaper's podcasts, The Austin Breakdown, The Houston Breakdown and The DFW Breakdown. She launched the podcasts after nearly three years as a reporter for the newspaper, covering public health, business, development and Travis County government for the Central Austin edition. Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas.