Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
×
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Vaccine distribution to group 1B begins simultaneously with group 1A
(Austin Regional Clinic)

The COVID-19 vaccination effort is underway in Austin and health professionals are gearing up to administer the first vaccines to the general public.


In order to work toward herd immunity and widespread vaccination, vaccine providers are working to distribute doses to individuals in groups 1A and 1B, simultaneously. And since doses of the vaccine are still limited, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Phase 1 may not be completed until the end of February.

Escott said that although the timeline appears long, Phase 1 alone is a group of tens of thousands of people who are at the most risk. These groups mainly include healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care facility residents and staff, people over 65 and children under 16 with underlying conditions.

"Once we can cover the 1B group, that covers the vast majority of individuals who are going to have a severe illness or death from COVID-19," Escott said. "We have the opportunity to save lives with vaccination, which means we have to be more careful now to prevent the spread so that more people have that opportunity to vaccinate in the future."

In a press conference on Wednesday, Escott said that the city's estimates on the online dashboard for the number of vaccines already administered to patients are on a pretty significant delay—the actual number is much higher.

Although the state's data says Travis County has only administered around 7,387 vaccines total, Escott said most major hospitals in the city have already administered well above that number, in the 10,000 range, each.

"(Hospitals are) doing a great job of getting vaccines out as quickly as possible," Escott said. "There's a data lag in that reporting but rest assured that the providers that have vaccines are getting it out the door as quickly as possible."

Since it will probably be several more months before the vaccine reaches Phase 2, the Texas Division of Emergency Management will provide infusion centers, which are expected to be operational early next week.

The infusion centers will provide monoclonal antibody therapy to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the high-risk categories. The infusions are designed to help alleviate the severity of their symptoms and reduce strain on hospitals.

Escott said the centers will only accept qualifying individuals into the infusion centers at first; individuals over the age of 65, as well as younger individuals who have significant underlying health conditions, will be screened and accepted if they meet the correct criteria.

"This therapy has been shown to be successful at reducing the risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19," Escott said. "We're hopeful that it will help contribute to decreasing the stress on our healthcare system."

To avoid further spread, Austin officials are asking residents to cancel their plans and stay home for New Year's Eve.

"If we don't act now, businesses are going to suffer even more, families will suffer, our way of life will suffer," Mayor Steve Adler said during the press conference. "It'll take us exponentially longer to return to life that is more normal. It is up to us and we're all in this together now."

Popular

A big announcement from Austonia

Howdy, and happy holidays.

I have some big news for you.

Austonia is now part of 6AM City, a fast-growing network of hyper-local newsletters across the country.

I’m proud to be telling you this, because 6AM City’s mission is very much like Austonia’s — a daily morning update on events, things-to-do and news, with an underlying mission of community building in the cities they serve.

If you’re not already subscribed, 6AM City’s Austin newsletter is called ATXtoday. One of its city editors is Laura Figi, who you’ll remember for her previous great work on Austonia’s newsletter.

I’ve been reading ATXtoday every day since it launched last year.

Starting this week, you’ll receive ATXtoday every morning and I’m confident it will become part of your daily wake up routine. Be sure to add hello@theatxtoday.com to your contact list (how to do that here).

Meantime let me thank you for your readership and support of Austonia, and convey my wishes for a great holiday season for you and those close to you.


Thank you,

Mark Dewey

Austonia CEO

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.