Houston expanding vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2

Mayor sylvester turner
Houston is expanding its vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2. (Courtesy HTV)

Houston is expanding its vaccine supply as 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses arrive March 2. (Courtesy HTV)

Houston’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines will start getting a boost March 2 with the arrival of 6,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The vaccine, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is administered in one dose rather than the two doses formulated by drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna.

“The vaccine is in the community. ... There is a lot of effort going toward getting the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible ... but mask wearing and social distancing remains our single best defense,” Houston Emergency Medical Director Dr. David Persse said.

The first shipment will be sent to the mass-vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at NRG Stadium. The site vaccinates individuals who sign up for doses though the Houston Health Department’s vaccine waitlist. The waitlist is currently only open to those who qualify under the state of Texas’ Phase 1A and 1B priority categories. Phase 1A and 1B include those over the age of 65 and those with certain chronic health conditions.

Future shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed through other providers as well, Persse said.

The convenience of the one-dose vaccine will make it ideal for hard-to-reach populations such as homeless residents, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

“It is very difficult to get them back for the second appointment,” Turner said.

The 6,000 Johnson & Johnson doses come in addition to the city’s weekly allotment of about 9,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and the FEMA site’s capacity to inoculate 6,000 individuals per day.

As a result of the city’s growing supply of vaccine doses, the Houston Health Department is now keeping its vaccine waitlist open rather than opening it only to fill a limited number of appointments at a time. It is still only open to individuals in the Phase 1A and 1B categories, Houston Health Department Director Steven Williams said.

Sign up for the waitlist here. Eligible residents can also call and sign up for the waitlist through the Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301 or the Mayor’s Office of Disabilities at 832-393-5500. For general information, call 832-393-4220.

The health department reported 914 new cases and seven new deaths March 1. The city's test positivity rate is at 11.8%, down from a high of over 20% during the city’s post-holiday surge.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert cut the ribbon during the green energy incubator’s grand opening April 22. (Courtesy Greentown Labs via livestream)
Climate technology incubator Greentown Labs opens Houston location

Greentown Labs Houston will welcome 30 inaugural green energy startup companies.

A new permanent campus for Trees for Houston will include 1.5 acres that will feature an on-site tree nursery, office space and an education center. (Courtesy Trees For Houston)
Kinder Foundation seeds $3 million for new Trees for Houston campus

The nonprofit’s capital campaign is closing in on its $8.8 million goal.

Maverick Remodeling and Construction employees use electronic gauges to determine how well a League City house that flooded from bust pipes is drying. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freeze-damaged homes might qualify for property tax reduction

As of March 31, HCAD said it had only received about 150 applications for the exemption.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Houston City Council approved a $500,000 grant ask that targets updates to the city’s parks master plan. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Houston City Council approves $500,000 grant ask for parks plan

The city of Houston is asking for $500,000 in grant funding to help pay for updates to its parks master plan.

George Floyd protest
Houston-area officials, advocates react to guilty verdicts in George Floyd murder

Across the city of Houston, local officials and advocates shared messages of solidarity and urged for more reforms in the wake of the announcement.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
How Harris County residents can prepare for hurricane season

After the most active hurricane season on record in 2020, Harris County officials said residents should be prepared for the upcoming season starting June 1.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at an April 19 press conference at a mass-vaccination site at NRG Park. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook Live).
Harris County accepting walk-ins for vaccine at NRG Park

As demand for vaccines has fallen, officials are looking for ways to make them more accessible.