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  • Writer's pictureTexas Star Alliance

The Battle Against COVID-19

2020 was a hard year for everyone, and the COVID-19 vaccine seems like it could be the saving grace of 2021. With the arrival of the vaccine comes questions about how to get it, where to get it, and what the different vaccines do. If you want the most up to date information in an easy to digest format about COVID follow this blog for the latest.

Who gets the vaccine first?

The Texas Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) is charged with determining who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when they’re eligible to get it. This panel consists of legislators, public health and medical experts. EVAP created a timeline for the vaccine distribution based on limited supply to service priority populations, aka Phases 1A and 1B.

· Phase 1A is the first group of people prioritized for vaccination, consisting of health

care workers, front-line workers, residents at long-term care facilities, and school and

childcare workers.

· Phase 1B is the next eligible group which includes all people 65+ or people age 16+

with at least one chronic medical condition (including pregnancy) that puts them at

increased risk for severe illness from the virus.

Although Phase 1A has not been totally vaccinated yet, EVAP opened up Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout. It is estimated that COVID-19 vaccines should be fully available to the general public sometime in Spring 2021 as more vaccines are authorized for use.

How much of Texas is vaccinated?

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS),more than 3.8 million Texans have received at least one dose, and almost 2.2 million are fully vaccinated as of March 3. That leaves 23.8 million Texans that have yet to be vaccinated.

Since the vaccine isn’t mandatory, it is highly unlikely that all 29 million Texans get one. In order to reach herd immunity, 70-80% of the population would have to be vaccinated, meaning around 22 million people or almost 100% of adults in the state. Some level of herd immunity is also achieved by people who previously contracted COVID and have short-term antibodies protecting them from reinfection.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Their Differences

While there are many different COVID-19 vaccines out in the world right now, only three have been authorized for use in the U.S. The two biggest, which were approved in December, are Pfizer and Moderna. A recent addition to this team is Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, Janssen, which was finally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on, February 27, 2021.

Here are some key differences and similarities between the three vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the U.S.

1. Pfizer

· Type: mRNA

· # of Doses: 2 (21 days apart)

· Efficacy: About 95%

· Variants: Proven to be quite affective against the U.K., South African,

and Latin American variants.

· Storage: Must be kept frozen

2. Moderna

· Type: mRNA

· # of Doses: 2 (28 days apart)

· Efficacy: About 95%

· Variants: Proven to be quite affective against the U.K., South African,

and Latin American variants.

· Storage: Must be kept frozen

3. Janssen

· Type: Adenovirus-based

· # of Doses:1

· Efficacy: 66% against moderate to severe illness, 85% against severe .

illness, 100% against death

· Variants: Proven to be quite effective against the U.K., South African,

and Latin American variants, although slightly less so against the South

African and Latin American strains.

· Storage: Can be refrigerated for at least 3 months

Although comparing one vaccine to another is like comparing apples to oranges, the most exciting development seems to come from Johnson & Johnson. Their Janssen vaccine only requires one dose and has a much longer shelf life. This single dosage option promises a quicker immunity by saving patients a second trip to the pharmacy. The federal government reported that 4 million doses of the Janssen vaccine will be distributed across the nation this week, and 20 million doses should be available toward the end of March. The first shipment of 24,000 doses into Texas is scheduled to be delivered by Tuesday, March 2. According to the DSHS, Arlington, Dallas, and Houston will receive this first batch, with more locations and doses coming soon after.

For more information regarding COVID-19 vaccines, where to find the closest Vaccine Provider near you please visit the link provided by DSHS,

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