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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include hub providers in this week's allocation, bringing more vaccines to the area than previously reported.
Nineteen providers in Travis County will receive vaccine doses starting Monday, Feb. 8, representing a substantial increase in the number of providers compared to recent weekly allocations. The Austin area will also receive more doses this week—18,750, compared to 14,750 last week, with the bulk going to hub providers Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin, the clinical wing of Dell Medical School.
- Austin Public Health (12,000 doses)
- UT Health Austin (2,950 doses)
- Austin Public Safety Wellness Center (500 doses)
- CommUnityCare Connection Clinic (100 doses)
- CommUnity Care ARCH (200 doses)
- CommUnity Care David Powell Clinic (200 doses)
- CommUnity Care Hancock (200 doses)
- CommUnity Care North Central (200 doses)
- CommUnity Care Oak Hill (100)
- CommUnity Care Rundberg (100 doses)
- CommUnity Care South Austin (100 doses)
- CommUnity Care Southeast Health and Wellness Clinic (100 doses)
- Lone Star Circle of Care at Collinfield (100 doses)
- Lone Star Circle of Care at El Buen Samaritano (100 doses)
- Lone Star Circle of Care Family Care (100 doses)
- Texas Department of Public Safety (500 doses)
- WellMed Ben White (400 doses)
- WellMed St. John (400 doses)
- WellMed Pflugerville (400 doses)
Although these providers may have doses to administer next week, many are limiting their supply to existing patient networks or reaching out to eligible candidates directly, rather than working through a waitlist system. View a list of providers with a waitlist here.
With the latest allocation being sent to Travis County this week, the county will have received 137,775 doses overall. Local public health officials estimate that there are 285,000 area residents who fall in the 1A and 1B priority groups, meaning that around 48.3% of them should have access to doses nine weeks into the rollout process.
As of midday Friday, 85,423 Travis County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 28,758 residents have received both doses, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data.
DSHS will allocate 401,750 initial doses of the COVID vaccine to 358 providers across the state this week, focusing on hub providers focused on widespread community distribution as well as smaller providers focused on older adults, such as pharmacies and community clinics.
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.
This allocation represents a 22% decrease compared to last week's, which DSHS noted was larger because of a one-time return of 126,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that the state set aside as part of a federal program for long-term care residents. The program overestimated the number of doses needed, so some are being returned to the states that provided them.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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