Variant-specific COVID-19 booster shots now available in Tarrant County

The new variant-specific COVID-19 booster shots are now available in Tarrant County.

Roughly 1,100 doses of the latest COVID-19 booster shots have been delivered to 114 pharmacies in Tarrant County: 600 Pfizer and 500 Moderna.

"The idea is that it’s widespread availability, and people shouldn’t just call one place and say, ‘I need the vaccine.’ There’s plenty of places," said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

Tarrant County’s vaccine finder website lists daily clinics run by public health as well as dozens of additional vaccination locations.

"It’s there. They have it," said Dr. Andrew Yockey, assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at UNT Health Science Center. "Even if you have to wait, it’s usually like a 24-hour waiting period. And then you get a call, and it’s like, ‘Oh, we have a vaccine. Please come in.’"

MORE: Find vaccines in your area

FILE IMAGE - A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody, Massachusetts, U.S., on Jan. 26, 2022. Photographer: Vanessa Leroy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FILE IMAGE - Photographer: Vanessa Leroy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

He explained the newly authorized boosters are bivalent, meaning "the boosters now contain this MRNA sequence for two specific strains of COVID."

The original strain and the Omicron BA5 subvariant.

Parkland Hospital sees surge in COVID-19 cases among kids going back to school

During Tuesday's Commissioner’s Court meeting, Taneja explained since school started back up, there's been an increase in the number of school-age children testing positive, mostly among 10 to 19-year-olds. But there have been no reports of the virus disrupting schedules at any schools.

Dr. Yockey warns against having a false sense of security that you’re protected if you’re a healthy adult, if you’ve already been vaccinated or previously had COVID.

"Some of our immune systems wane away," he said. "And after a certain dose, you are good for six to eight months. And then you have to get boosted again because of the toxic nature of COVID."

And while health officials agree COVID-19 is a part of our new normal, Dr. Yockey says the sooner we get boosted, the sooner we could see rapid transmission come to an end.

CDC lowers Dallas County COVID-19 level to green

"The United States is still averaging around 70,000 cases a day," he said. "The ultimate end goal would probably be anything less than a thousand a day."

If you’ve recently had COVID, Dr. Yockey says you should wait anywhere between two to four weeks for your system to clear out before getting a booster shot.

That second shipment contains 2,000 additional doses. It’s unclear when that will arrive.