Equal access to COVID-19 booster: What’s being done in Travis County to get shots to those who need them

Coronavirus

MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended Pfizer booster shots for certain people, vaccines are going into arms across Central Texas.

But how do we make sure everyone has equal access to them?

That’s a question Austin City Council directed Austin Public Health to address as they begin rolling out their booster shot program. Largely, APH has said they’re working to tap community partners to reach areas of the community that they haven’t had luck with previously.

Among city partners are the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), who was out distributing booster shots — in addition to first and second doses for unvaccinated people — in Manor on Saturday.

The key to getting people to show up, says LULAC District 12 Director Gabriel Nila, is easy access for people in more rural areas, access to Spanish speakers and placing vaccination sites in places people know and trust — like a church.

Volunteer gives booster shot to woman
Marva Bennett gets her booster shot Saturday at the LULAC vaccine clinic in Manor, Texas (KXAN photo/Grace Reader)

“They’re part of the community, they know what Eternal Faith Baptist Church has done for the community and so they want to go where they feel trusted and loved,” Nila said. “They say ‘We’ll go with you because we believe in you and we believe that what you’re doing is good for the community and good for us.’

Of the people who showed up Saturday, many said they trusted the church and it was a convenient location for them.

Marva Bennett, who got her booster at the clinic Saturday was one of those people. She also said getting her booster shot was much easier than getting her first and second doses.

“I can tell that the process has been refined and maybe even delivery or the people being trained,” she said.

At the end of the day, people at the clinic said they wanted to protect themselves and their family, and this helped them do it.

“It’s worth it to protect your family and protect yourself from the spread of this virus,” Derrick Bedford, who also got his booster shot Saturday, said.

Who’s eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

Here’s who is now eligible to receive a booster shot according to the CDC:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shots
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shots
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shots, based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their first and second Pfizer-BioNTech shots, based on their individual benefits and risks

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