covid-19 vaccine

Push to Register for COVID-19 Vaccine Ramps Up as Next Phase Starts Monday

Phase 1C, which includes all Texans over the age of 50, begins Monday

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Anyone over the age of 50 is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas starting Monday.

It comes as the state enters its first full week of no COVID-19 safety restrictions, following an order by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lifting all pandemic mandates last Wednesday.

“The mask going away with the mask mandate has ramped up our efforts to try and get everyone registered,” said Leslie Armijo, with the group Don’t Wait Vaccinate.

Armijo’s organization held an event at St. Luke Catholic Church in Irving on Sunday, where it managed to register more than 700 people for a vaccine. Don’t Wait Vaccinate targets under-served communities who, due to language or socioeconomic barriers, may not know how to readily access the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are ramping up efforts, we basically have an event almost every day,” Armijo said.

Over the weekend, crowds of people turned out in Dallas for St. Patrick’s Day. All of it coming as COVID-19 infection rates continue to trend down in Dallas County. But health experts worry the mass gatherings are coming too soon and could lengthen the pandemic.

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:

Waitlist Links: Collin - Search Waitlist | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant

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.

“We are making progress, let’s not blow this, we need to get transmission down to really low levels and get people vaccinated,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said.

Huang emphasized the importance of following new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surrounding activities and gatherings. While those who are vaccinated can do more, Huang said caution will remain vital.

“It is not recommended to go to these large gatherings with people you don’t know,” Huang said.

COVID-19 Vaccines

In Texas, the COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of 5. The vaccines are still not approved for children younger than 5 however -- those trials are ongoing.

Once vaccinated, people who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. For those who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- there is only one shot needed.

As of Jan. 3, 2022, it is also recommended those who are age 12 and up and who have been fully vaccinated receive a booster as early as five months after their last dose, for a total of three shots. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech is the only U.S. option for children of any age.

As for even younger children, kid-size doses for 5- to 11-year-olds rolled out in November and experts said healthy youngsters should be protected after their second dose for a while. But the FDA also said on Jan. 3, 2022, that if children that young have severely weakened immune systems, they will be allowed a third dose 28 days after their second. That’s the same third-dose timing already recommended for immune-compromised teens and adults.

Pfizer and Moderna are studying their vaccines, in even smaller doses, for children younger than 5.

Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since none of the vaccines offer 100% protection from infection. With that in mind, even if you've been vaccinated it's still a good idea to wear a mask and keep some separation between strangers or those whose vaccination status is unclear.

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