After receiving only 1,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during the first month of allocation, Austin Public Health is expecting a much larger shipment—12,000 doses—from the state next week.
"While this pilot allocation is the largest given to us to date, it is important to note that it is still not nearly enough to cover everyone who will want the vaccine in our community," APH Director Stephanie Hayden said in a statement Friday. "There is an estimated 200,000 residents without traditional health insurance over the age of 16 that may need to be vaccinated by a safety net provider, like Austin Public Health."
APH will administer the vaccine to individuals who meet the state's criteria for groups 1A and 1B, which include frontline healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, first responders, people 65 years of age and older and those with a chronic medical condition.
The department has also identified vaccine clinic locations in the hardest hit communities. To protect patient privacy, the location details will only be available with scheduled appointments.
Earlier this week, Hayden said APH would need at least 10,000 doses to warrant the launch of a vaccine registration system for Austin residents in search of a shot. With the news of the state's latest allocation, APH will launch such a system "in the days ahead."
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Thursday that it will direct its upcoming weekly allocation of around 200,000 COVID vaccine doses to large providers that can administer shots on a large scale to vulnerable populations.
Next week will be the last week that the state is required to reserve doses of its vaccine allocation from the federal government to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities, which DSHS said will free up doses in the future.
Texas' vaccine rollout, which began in mid-December, has been bumpy. The state has issued mixed messages, some providers have administered vaccines to individuals outside of the priority groups and many eligible residents have found themselves on waitlists numbers into the thousands.
Meanwhile, the COVID caseload continues to surge in Austin, and hospitals are nearing their capacity limits.
"Just because more vaccine is being delivered each week does not mean that individuals should slow preventative measures," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said in a statement Friday. "It would be especially tragic to have more deaths and hospitalizations when we are so close to getting our vulnerable populations vaccinated."
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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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