Dallas County will be among the first locations in the country to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use on Saturday.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Friday afternoon that Dallas County Health and Human Services will receive 6,000 doses next week to vaccinate at-risk populations who are less likely to be available for their second shot, including the incarcerated and homeless, as well as others.
Jenkins said the county has already identified ways it can reach those currently experiencing homelessness and will be working with the medical unit inside the Dallas County jail to vaccinate inmates.
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"We want to get them inoculated while we can," Jenkins said. "It is to all of our benefit that we vaccinate those who are willing to accept the vaccine in that population. That makes all of us safer."
Jenkins said in addition to helping vaccinate at-risk groups, the bulk of the county's Johnson & Johnson supply would go to those registered on the Dallas County waitlist.
"The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a great vaccine for anyone and the vaccine that you should get is the one that is available to you," Jenkins said.
The news comes shortly after a panel of experts to the Food and Drug Administration endorsed the emergency use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the FDA confirmed Wednesday that it is safe and effective.
While the FDA doesn't have to follow the advisory committee's recommendation, it did in the case of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
This makes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the third vaccine to be recommended for emergency use authorization by the panel.
The U.S. government said they planned to ship three million to four million doses of the new vaccine next week.
While early J&J supplies will be small, the company has said it can deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and a total of 100 million by the end of June.
J&J’s vaccine protects against the worst effects of COVID-19 after one shot, and it can be stored up to three months at refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to handle than the previous vaccines, which must be frozen.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.