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...and afternoon text update

(Bob Daemmrich)

Four providers in Travis County will receive vaccine doses starting Monday, Feb. 15, with the bulk going to hub provider Austin Public Health, as has been the case in recent weeks.

  • Austin Public Health (12,000 doses)
  • UT Health Austin (1,950 doses)
  • CommUnity Care East Austin (500 doses)
  • DSHS Central Pharmacy Warehouse (3,500 doses)

Although these providers may have doses to administer next week, many are limiting their supply to existing patient waitlists or reaching out to eligible candidates directly. View a list of providers with a waitlist here. Note that the DSHS Central Pharmacy Warehouse does not serve the general public.

With this latest allocation, Travis County will have received 155,725 doses overall. Local public health officials estimate that there are 285,000 area residents who fall in the 1A and 1B priority groups.

As of midday Friday, 100,680 Travis County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 39,281 residents have received both doses, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data.

DSHS will allocate 407,650 initial doses of the COVID vaccine to 302 providers across the state this week, focusing on hub providers capable of widespread community distribution as well as smaller providers serving older adults. This represents a slight increase compared to last week's allocation.

Additionally the federal government shipped 80,000 vaccine doses to 376 pharmacy locations across Texas. Participating pharmacies include CVS, H-E-B and Walmart, as well as some independent pharmacies. Last week, 15 Austin-area CVS and H-E-B pharmacy locations received such direct shipments.

The state health department is encouraging providers to make accommodations—such as reserving doses, offering special hours and facilitating in-home vaccinations—for people who are 75 or older because they remain at the highest risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. People 70 and older account for 5% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Travis County but 34% of COVID-related hospitalizations in the Austin metro and 60% of the county's COVID deaths, according to Austin Public Health data.

Second doses

In addition to this initial dose allocation, DSHS is also expecting to distribute 333,650 second doses of the vaccine to local providers to administer to individuals who received their first shot a few weeks ago.

Some local vaccine recipients may be concerned about receiving their second doses. On Monday, APH posted an update on Facebook explaining that it had not yet received a corresponding allocation of second doses for those vaccinated by the department last month. But Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard offered reassurances on Tuesday, confirming that the department had received its second doses by then. "This is a significant amount of anxiety, but I can give folks the comfort in knowing that you will definitely receive your second dose from us," she told Austin City Council.

Until recently, the federal government automatically issued second dose allocations to states after the initial allocation was sent out. Last month, this changed; the federal government now requires states to order second dose allocations. As a result, DSHS followed suit and now requires local providers—such as APH—to place orders for their second doses. "For these first several weeks, we're going to be working really closely with them," Director of Media Relations Chris Van Deusen told Austonia.

Austinites may still be concerned that they will not receive their second doses within the optimal window: three weeks for Pfizer's vaccine, four for Moderna's. Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott addressed these concerns on Tuesday, pointing to new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 21. In cases where "it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable," the agency advises that second doses may be administered up to six weeks after the first ones. "This creates some flexibility in the scheduling of that second dose," Esoctt told Travis County commissioners.


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The event, which began at 1 p.m. on Monday, was hosted by the Austin chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Restaurant Organizing Project and The Amplified Sound Coalition.
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