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The University of Texas will become a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site upon federal approval of Pfizer's vaccine, UT health leaders announced Tuesday.


The university will receive 3,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine, which UT and Dell Medical School said would be given to health care workers, including those on campus, per federal regulations.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are unique in that they need to be stored at minus 80 degrees. It is set to be considered for emergency use this week.

According to Amy Young, vice dean of professional practice at Dell Medical School and the chief clinical officer for UT Health Austin, they hope to administer vaccines to the Austin community in later stages of distribution as well.

"We hope that as many people that are willing and able will be vaccinated, it's just a very important layer in our ongoing fight against COVID," Young said. "We know ... as more people get vaccinated, we'll have more protection for our community. It's really important for all of us to remember to mask, social distance and wash our hands as we go through this period."

Though UT will become a distribution site, the vaccine is currently considered voluntary for people on campus, including healthcare workers.

Terrance Hines, chief medical officer for University Health Services at UT, said he hopes as many eligible people as possible take advantage of the vaccine.

"It's just important to highlight the vaccine is really only one step, one layer in the ways that we hope to protect our campus," he said. "It's also a new vaccine and we're continuing to learn about that. We're respectful that this is a personal choice for a lot of folks who take it very seriously."

Hines also said even after you are vaccinated, safe practices like masks and social distancing will still be critical.

UT officials added that all vaccines will be administered at no cost to the individual, and the university is working to educate students on best practices over the winter holidays.

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