COVID-19 vaccine availability remains high in Texas despite pause on Johnson & Johnson dose

State health officials said the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not impact the availability of the vaccine, due to increases in doses.

And they are seeing demand for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remain high.

Health officials said that as more contagious and lethal variants of COVID-19 increase in Texas, it is critical for people to still get vaccinated so they don't gain a foothold.

"It's been an interesting week," said Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services.

Despite the pause on the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, state health experts said that increased production from Pfizer and Moderna is filling in the gap.

"If you have been hanging back and waiting for availability to increase, now is the time to look at where you can get vaccinated close to you. More pharmacies and doctors’ offices are receiving the vaccine," Garcia explained.

And while overall, COVID-19 cases across the state have dropped, there are some concerning signs that variants are picking up steam in some areas.

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(Courtesy: Pfizer)

"Starting to see cases in some parts of state have flattened or shown small rises, watching to see if hospitalizations follow," Garcia said.

The UK variant is the most common in Texas and the rest of the country.

Studies have shown vaccines may be less effective against the variants.

"What is important for now is everyone go and get vaccinated because this can decrease chance of getting infected and new mutations from emerging," Garcia said.

And as for people feeling uneasy after an approved vaccine was placed on hold, Dr. Jennifer Shuford said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works differently.

Moreover, Pfizer and Moderna have already been administered on a much wider scale.

"Moderna and Pfizer deployed widely across the U.S., getting close to 200 million. Good population and not seeing these types of safety signals," Dr. Shuford explained.

Experts say that getting no vaccine is also taking a risk.

"COVID-19 itself can cause severe clotting and numerous other long-term health effects. Moderna and Pfizer can protect you against a lot of severe health problems from COVID-19 itself," Dr. Shuford added.