AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health expects to receive 12,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the Texas Department of State Health Services next week.
APH, as part of the statewide program for regional COVID-19 vaccine hubs, says it expects the shipment to be its largest amount of doses to date. Before now, the health department said on Tuesday it had only received about 1,300 doses from the state so far.
APH will distribute the doses to “those hardest hit by (the) pandemic” within the state’s criteria for Phase 1A and 1B, according to a release. The health authority will start by administering vaccines to people that qualify in Phase 1A, “specifically people of long-term care facilities not enrolled in the federal pharmacy program.”
Next week’s amount of vaccine represents less than 1% of the area’s population, APH says.
“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,” said Stephanie Hayden, APH director. “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. We have a long road ahead, but we are excited to take the first step toward vaccinating those most vulnerable to this pandemic.”
APH is working with several partners to identify and distribute the vaccine in underserved areas, placing clinic locations that serve the hardest hit communities, the release says.
APH says it is launching a COVID-19 vaccine registration system for eligible residents in the days ahead. The system will have the ability to contact individuals to encourage them to schedule an appointment if and when APH has allocated additional vaccine. A phone line will also be available for those without internet access.
The local public health authority would like to remind residents not everyone eligible for the vaccine will be able to receive it during the first large allocation from Texas DSHS. APH asks if you can get a vaccine through your healthcare provider, a pharmacy or another provider, to please help APH save this limited allocation for the area’s most vulnerable populations.
APH is only one of more than 350 providers giving out the vaccine in Austin-Travis County. The amount of vaccine received each week is determined by DSHS.