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Houston administers its first Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines Thursday

Roughly 24 hours after launching, more than 14,000 people had signed up for HHD’s J&J vaccine waitlist.

HOUSTON — Houston Health Department started giving Johnson and Johnson’s new one-dose COVID-19 vaccine Thursday to people with appointments at one city-run site.

Roughly 24 hours after launching, more than 14,000 people had signed up for HHD’s J&J vaccine waitlist. About 7,000 had been sent invitations for appointments.

The doses came from a shipment of 12,000 total that arrived at NRG Park on Tuesday. The city and Harris County split them evenly.

The Harris County Health Department will start administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at its mobile sites on Monday.

You can sign up for the HCHD's COVID vaccine waitlist here.

“The longest wait is the wait while they want to make sure you have no side effects, but maybe five minutes for you inside,” said Omar Anderson, who got the J&J vaccine at HHD’s site Thursday morning.

Anderson was driving Sikita Ashley to get her J&J shot.

“Things are moving along pretty well, so it’s not hurting too bad just yet,” said Ashley.

Angie Compean was a few cars behind them in the long entrance line.

“Super excited,” said Compean, who added that waitlists up until now have been long. “At least we’re not gonna get sick and die cause we didn’t get it.”

As of Wednesday, teachers, child care workers, and school staff across Texas can get the COVID-19 vaccine thanks to a new federal directive.

HHD Director Stephen Williams says teachers and school staff will get the same waitlist priority as other people in groups 1A and 1B.

“We have already established relationships with a variety of districts and institutions to see how we could vaccinate those individuals who are working in those institutions who already meet the 1B criteria,” said Williams.

Director Williams says these new education and daycare workers will not need to prove their employment. They’ll be on the honor system, like others in group 1B.

Imelda Garcia, Chair of the Texas Department of State Health Service’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, told reporters in a virtual media briefing Thursday she expects another 24,000 total doses of J&J vaccine to be sent to three FEMA vaccination sites in Houston, Dallas, and Arlington the following week.