Texas opening COVID-19 vaccine to all adults on Monday

All adults in the state of Texas will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Monday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the change is due to an expected increase in supply. Many parts of the state have also made great progress in vaccinating priority groups.

"We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases," said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel.

Providers are expected to still give priority to people over the age of 80, even going as far as immediately moving them to the front of the line whether or not they have an appointment.

But there are nearly two million people on wait lists in Dallas and Tarrant counties combined.

DSHS says about two million people are 16 and older in Dallas County. Nearly 270,000 are fully vaccinated. About 25% of Dallas County adults have had their first shot.

In Tarrant County, 1.6 million people are 16 and older. Nearly 198,000 are fully vaccinated, and 24% of adults have had at least one dose.

"Everybody’s in line, and we’re going to get the vaccines out as quickly as we can get them here," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang says the biggest problem remains supply, especially in the most populated counties.

"We know we have more capacity to see more people and give more shots," he said. "But we have had to shut down some days because we didn't have more vaccine."

In less than three weeks, Texas will start getting more Johnson & Johnson doses. Officials say this could dramatically boost the number of people being fully vaccinated.

"The Johnson & Johnson has the advantage of one shot and you are done. They are all good vaccine. We tell people take the first one available," Dr. Huang said.

"Hopefully we will get our share in Texas, and Texas will give our share in Tarrant county," Whitley said.

Also next week, DSHS will launch a statewide vaccine registration website and hotline for some public vaccine clinics. The shots are also now available through many pharmacies and private providers.

"With every dose, Texas gets closer to normal and protects more lives from COVID-19 hospitalization and death," Texas DSHS said in a tweet Tuesday morning.

The rate at which people get an appointment will still fall into the priority grouping.

People under 17 are only able to get the Pfizer shot, so check the provider before making an appointment.

LINK: dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine