A third COVID-19 vaccine could be on its way soon, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported in a press briefing Thursday morning.
"Later this week, the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee is scheduled to meet to make recommendations on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine," DSHS Associate Commissioner Imelda Garcia said. "By this weekend, we could have a third vaccine authorized in the United States. This would be a huge development in speeding up our vaccination efforts."
According to a story by the Associated Press, the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.
Garcia also provided vaccination updates regarding the state of Texas, including totals and reports on lost doses because of winter storms.
"Even with the winter storm stopping a lot of our vaccination clinics last week, providers in Texas have administered a total of more than 4.5 million doses of the vaccine," she said. "That equals about 3.1 million people who've gotten at least one dose, and more than 1.4 million who are fully vaccinated."
Of people 65 and older, 38% have gotten at least their first dose, and more than one in every seven are now fully vaccinated. More than one in six people 80 or older are now fully vaccinated.
"You can see our continued progress in vaccinating those critical populations that are at the highest risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19," Garcia said.
Garcia said a flood of vaccines has been rolling in this week because of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention pausing shipment last week. About 1.4 million doses were scheduled to arrive at providers' doors Monday or Tuesday, after most providers didn't receive doses last week.
About 1,000 doses were reportedly lost last week, with that number likely to rise as providers continue to return to their offices.
"We lost about a week as far as actually administering doses last week," Garcia said. "So this week, providers will have last week's allocation and this week's allocations that they'll need to push through in the coming days."
Garcia said vaccination efforts should be caught back up within a week and a half.
"Hearing the big efforts that all our providers are doing in order to double up efforts to keep up on first and second doses this coming week, I think probably in a week and a half we should be able to get caught up across the state," she said.
The federal allocation for next week has not yet been received by DSHS.