Texas Gov. Greg Abbott receives 'safe and easy' COVID-19 vaccine, joining other state and Austin officials
As new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott received the first dose of the COVID vaccine on Tuesday at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin.
"I want to show my fellow Texans that it's safe and easy to get a vaccine," he said before getting his shot. "And also remembering that I will never ask my fellow Texans to do something I wouldn't do myself."
Abbott cited recent polls that found fewer than half of Texans plan to receive the COVID vaccine and recent advice from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, who asked elected officials to get vaccinated on camera to encourage their constituents to follow suit, for his decision to be vaccinated publicly.
After receiving his shot, Abbott reported he "didn't feel a thing."
The governor was joined by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt.
"This will eventually be what puts the pandemic behind us," he said of the COVID vaccines in use.
The state of Texas distributed 224,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine last week and is on track to distribute an additional 620,400 doses—mostly from Moderna—this week. Both vaccines require two doses, administered about three weeks apart.
Abbott said Texas will distribute more than one million vaccines by the end of the month, focusing on priority populations such as frontline healthcare workers, EMS first responders and nursing home residents. He previously said the state would administer 1.4 million doses by the new year.
"In January and February, the number of vaccines will just continue to increase," he said. "There will come a time when there will be availability for everyone to have a vaccine."
Now that Abbott has received the first dose himself, he joins other local and state officials who have opted to receive the COVID vaccine.
Dr. Amy Young, chief clinical officer for UT Health Austin and vice dean of professional practice at Dell Medical School, was one of the first 100 people to be vaccinated in Austin last Tuesday. Dr. Clay Johnston, dean of the medical school, tweeted a photo of his colleague receiving her shot, adding: "I haven't felt so much joy since before the pandemic."
I haven't felt so much joy since before the pandemic, watching the frontline receive such an amazingly effective va… https://t.co/T7iQr5eddp— Clay Johnston (@Clay Johnston)1608049298.0
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, received his vaccine in Houston on the same day.
1/4: An honor to be vaccinated against #COVID19 tonight @TexasChildrens @bcmhouston, dose 1/2 of the Pfizer Bio… https://t.co/6mKzyKN4Rl— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD)1608091754.0
Dr. Diana Fite, president of the Texas Medical Association and an emergency room physician in Houston, got vaccinated on Wednesday.
Grateful to be one of the thousands of Texas health care workers getting the #COVID19 vaccine this week. Here I am… https://t.co/qBDiol0ayg— Diana L. Fite, MD (@Diana L. Fite, MD)1608241282.0
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott received the first dose of the COVID vaccine on Saturday as part of the distribution event for first responders. He also serves as the medical director of the Austin-Travis County EMS system.
I was excited to join some of our @ATCEMS Paramedics and @austinfiredept EMTs today @DellMedSchool @uthealthaustin… https://t.co/KzrkEsmris— Dr. Mark E. Escott (@Dr. Mark E. Escott)1608420826.0
Dr. Guadalupe Zamora, who serves on the Central Health board of managers, received his vaccine on Sunday.
“I’m getting vaccinated because we need to return to normal. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect… https://t.co/6EOTepgawp— Central Health (@Central Health)1608508311.0
Former Texas Governor and U.S. President George W. Bush has also volunteered to receive the vaccine on camera, once they have been administered to priority populations.
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Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.
The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Salute the support. 👏
It's only the beginning for @AustinFC. pic.twitter.com/TduorqYr2y
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
Eleven players took the stage as Austin FC players for the first time, with five starters making their MLS debut. "Ringleader" Alex Ring took the captain's armband and wore it well. The defensive midfielder could be seen leading his teammates through their first ever match, but it wasn't enough to stage an Austin takeover in LA.
In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team played with quickness and intensity, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. It was harder for them to stay in front, however, something that Wolff credits with quick decision making and a tough LAFC defense.
"We have a quick attacking team, but I think when you make quick attacks and it fizzles it's just about some decision making," Wolff said. "Are we in position to finish attacks? If not, can we reestablish our attack and get stuff better?"
The club was given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
LA pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense wasn't initially as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and a 34-year old Matt Besler held his own in center back.
As the second half commenced, however, it became clear that LAFC had the advantage over Austin's first major league team.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had his work cut out for him, fending off 24 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. He didn't have much time to prepare, either: in the first 30 seconds of play, Stuver had already made a save to keep the match 0-0.
LAFC finally connected in the 61st minute of play as Corey Baird shot one into the bottom right corner. The team capitalized off their momentum and put one past Stuver a second time, drawing roars of approval from the LAFC crowd.
While some last-minute attempts from Jon Gallagher and others were made, Austin FC didn't have the endurance to bring a tie. After seven additional minutes of stoppage time, the club lost their first match 2-0.
While the scoreboard tells one story, Wolff said that the team did well considering the skill of LAFC and the pressure of their club debut.
"We've got to be realistic," Wolff said. "This is the first time this organization has been in front of TV with an opportunity to show itself and I think there were some promising moments. And we're going to maximize those and continue to try to develop those, but there's lots to build on."
The team may have lost, but it still won the support of thousands of Verde fans, dozens of which made it to watch their team's first match. When Stuver and the team made it to bthe stadium, Los Verdes fans were already there to show support, and Stuver said his wife saw the same back in Austin.
"The moment that we pulled into the stadium, we saw Black and Verde fans cheering us on as we got to the stadium," Stuver said. "During warm up, you can just look around and see different groups sitting in different sections of the stadium and it's just truly amazing to see the support in our first game. We know that we want to give the fans everything, because this we play for the city and we play for them."