HOUSTON — Monday, March 29, marks a big day in Texas in the fight against COVID-19.
The state is opening up eligibility requirements for those wanting to join waitlists and get the coronavirus vaccine.
How old do you have to be to get the COVID vaccine?
In Texas, as of March 29, everyone age 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. But note that while all vaccines are authorized for people 18 and older, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older. Keep that in mind if you are making a vaccine appointment for a 16 or 17 year old. Also, note that vaccine distributors/clinics require that parent or legal guardian must be present for any minor (age 16 and 17) receiving a COVID vaccine.
How to get a COVID vaccine in the Houston area
People can also continue to find providers though the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.
TIP: If you want a vaccine sooner than later, you are encouraged to sign up for multiple waitlists and take the first appointment that is offered to you. You do not have to live in the county where you sign up to receive the vaccine.
Here's a helpful list of waitlists and places to sign up in the Houston area — keep checking these links as more doses/appointments become available:
- Austin County, get the latest updates from the judge
- Brazoria County vaccine availability notifications
- Brazos County pre-screening, registration form
- Chambers County, get the latest updates and links here
- CHI St Lukes Health, vaccine info & form
- City of Houston COVID vaccine availability updates and links
- CVS Pharmacies, select Houston-area locations
- Fort Bend County waitlist registration
- Galveston County COVID vaccine updates
- Harris County COVID vaccine waitlist registration | Updates
- Houston Methodist Hospital vaccine waitlist registration
- Kelsey-Seybold Clinic vaccine registration
- Liberty County vaccine availability, Facebook notifications
- Matagorda County COVID vaccine drive-thrus
- Memorial Hermann COVID vaccine waitlist
- Montgomery County COVID vaccine waitlist
- Orange County vaccine waitlist signup (Beaumont area)
- Texas vaccine hubs statewide — view list
- UT-Health Houston, vaccine waitlist registration
- UTMB vaccine waitlist
- UTMB vaccine appointment scheduler
Available to all, but older adults still get priority
The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase this week, which is why they are opening the vaccine to all. However, the DSHS has still directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who is present for vaccination — whether or not they have an appointment — by immediately moving them to the front of the line.
About the three vaccines approved in the U.S.:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 16 years and older. This vaccines requires two doses given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data shows that the vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting seven days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until one to two weeks after they receive the second dose.
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 18 years and older. This vaccine requires two doses given 28 days apart. Clinical trial data shows the vaccine is about 94 percent effective after the second dose.
- Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: The vaccine was FDA-approved for emergency use authorization on Feb. 28. In clinical trials, the vaccine worked especially well in protecting recipients from severe disease and hospitalizations, but its efficacy rate of 72 percent in U.S. trials is less than its competitors.