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Everyone ages 16 and up can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas: How to sign up

All three vaccines available in the U.S. have been approved for individuals 18 and older, but only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those as young as 16.

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:

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.

Watch: Why some people are getting their 2nd shot at a different location

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.