An independent advisory panel recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Although the FDA is not obligated to heed the recommendations, it is expected that the federal agency will do so imminently.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week that the state would receive 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine starting on Monday.
BREAKING: FDA Advisory Panel Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine. A favorable recommendation paves the way… https://t.co/cmuHnGqxbc— Greg Abbott (@Greg Abbott) 1607640853.0
The Austin area will receive an initial allotment of 13,650 doses, which will be distributed to priority populations pending FDA approval.
The first doses will go to a handful of hospitals in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties, with earliest access going to nursing home residents, front-line healthcare workers and EMS first responders, according to Austin Public Health.
"We are excited for our hospital systems partners to begin vaccinating our front-line hospital workers against this virus," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said in a statement last week.
It will likely take many months before the vaccine is widely available to the general public. 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 inoculation.
The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and two doses, administered three weeks apart. The pharmaceutical company announced last month that preliminary data showed its vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Encouragingly, documents published by the FDA earlier this week showed that the Pfizer vaccine provides strong protection against COVID within about 10 days of the first dose, as the New York Times reported Thursday.
The Pfizer vaccine relies on a spike protein invented by a team of scientists led by Dr. Jason McLellan, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin.
"The fact that many of these leading (vaccine) candidates contain some of these mutations that we designed several years ago is just fantastic," he told Austonia last month.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine last week. Canada's equivalent agency followed suit on Wednesday.
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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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