Update: This program is temporarily on hold due to new federal guidance Tuesday, April 13 concerning the use of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Kroger is working with the cities of Fort Worth and Burleson and the Fort Worth Fire Department to vaccinate homebound Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County clients against COVID-19.
According to organizers, about 400 Meals on Wheels clients who have no family or are disabled and unable to leave home will be the first to be vaccinated with the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of the partnership.
The vaccines will be administered by members of the Fort Worth Fire Department. Fire Chief Jim Davis said they're proud to support a partnership that is making such a positive difference and that "everyone on the front lines is working tirelessly to bring compassionate care to those who are isolated and otherwise have limited access to these vaccines."
"This partnership is an excellent example of the ways the city is innovative in our efforts to break down the barriers that might keep people from getting a vaccine," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said in a statement. "Meals On Wheels of Tarrant County is an organization that already does incredible work in our community year-round, and having the fire department working with them to bring vaccines right to the homes of members of our most vulnerable populations just makes sense."
Jeff Loesch, director of Kroger Health, said the company is proud to continue its partnership with the city of Fort Worth and other local communities to ensure everyone has access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We are so grateful to Kroger Health, the cities of Fort Worth and Burleson, and especially the men and women of the Fort Worth Fire Department for administering these life-saving vaccinations to our clients, who are often some of the frailest members of our community. This just goes to prove that Tarrant County really is a caring place to grow old," said Carla Jutson, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels Inc. of Tarrant County.
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Organizers said there are about two million homebound individuals in the United States and that they have a smaller chance of receiving a vaccine if not for the commitment of public-private partnerships such as this one.
Got a question about the COVID-19 vaccine? Get the answers here in our FAQ.
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.