11 Austin area facilities will receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine this week, with more doses on the way
Eleven healthcare providers in Central Texas will receive a collective 16,575 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday as part of the state's initial shipment.
The following facilities in Hays, Travis and Williamson counties will receive between 975 and 2,925 doses of the vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services:
- Seton Medical Center Hays
- Seton Medical Center Austin
- Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas
- South Austin Medical Center
- Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas
- UT Health Austin
- Austin State Hospital
- North Austin Medical Center
- St. David's Medical Center
- Round Rock Medical Center
- Baylor Scott & White Health Medical Center Round Rock
UT Health Austin will receive its 2,925 dose allotment on Monday, a DSHS spokesperson confirmed to Austonia. Three other facilities—UT Health San Antonio, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Methodist Dallas Medical Center—will also receive between 4,875 and 5,850 doses of the vaccine on Monday.
The remaining locations are expected to receive their vaccine shipments later in the week.
Ultimately, 109 sites across the state will receive more than 220,000 doses of the vaccine as part of this initial allotment.
The COVD vaccine will arrive in Texas within 48 hours & will be distributed immediately. Texas is slated to receiv… https://t.co/XYhg9Q3I0n— Greg Abbott (@Greg Abbott) 1607796225.0
Gov. Greg Abbott has said Texas will receive 1.4 million doses by the end of the year, which is just slightly more than the 1.3 million cases confirmed statewide since the start of the pandemic.
Who will receive the vaccine first?
Front-line healthcare workers and EMS first responders have been identified as top priority recipients by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local health authorities.
Nursing home residents and staff are also considered critical recipients. But most long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine through a federal program separate from the initial allotment happening this week.
Abbott announced Friday that the state will participate in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. Registered facilities will receive vaccines and staff assistance from partnership Walgreens and CVS locations free of charge starting on Dec. 28.
In Travis County, staff and residents at long-term care facilities account for nearly 42% of the 505 COVID deaths reported as of Sunday.
There are 139 long-term care facilities registered in Travis County, with a total of 8,419 residents among them, according to Texas Health and Human Services. Staff data was not available.
One concern raised by public health officials is how to convince vaccine skeptics as the distribution process gets underway.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott reviewed Pfizer's application for an emergency use authorization, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
"After reviewing that (document), I'll say that I'm extremely impressed with the efficacy and safety of this vaccine," he said Wednesday. "Overall, the effectiveness of the vaccine—95% for those individuals between the ages of 16 and 55—(is) so much better than I think anyone expected it to be."
The side effects associated with the vaccine are "relatively mild," Escott added, and akin to those seen with other vaccines: chills, muscle aches and swelling.
"Really no serious or concerning adverse events that would give us pause in terms of encouraging (its) use," he said.
But Patty Ducayet, the state's long-term care ombudsman, told Austonia last week that she has heard a "diversity of opinion" from residents' families. "I think we have a bit of a battle ahead of us," she said.
It will likely take many months before the vaccine is widely available to the general public, and local health officials have stressed that Austinites will need to maintain protective measures—such as masking, social distancing and hand washing—until herd immunity is achieved through mass vaccination.
Vaccines are on the way to provide relief to our elderly and healthcare workers. It is our duty to continue taking… https://t.co/5tNKJ8DkyI— Sarah Eckhardt (@Sarah Eckhardt) 1607955120.0
It is likely, however, that Pfizer will soon be joined by other pharmaceutical companies in distributing a vaccine.
The FDA will meet with its advisory panel on Thursday to review Moderna's application for an EUA. Its vaccine works similarly to Pfizer's, requiring two doses, and the pharmaceutical company has posted similarly promising results in its clinical trials.
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- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
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- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."