How many booster shots have been given in Travis County?

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the Food and Drug Administration considers expanding access to certain booster shots, tens of thousands of people in Travis County have already received an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to expand their recommendation on boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine to include anyone 18 or older.

Under the current guidance in place, booster doses are recommended for people over the age of 65 and other groups particularly vulnerable to the virus due to their job or living situation. Meanwhile, officials recommend any adult who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to receive another dose.

Pfizer submitted results from a study of additional doses in 10,000 people in an attempt to make its case that it’s time to further expand the booster shot campaign The FDA is reviewing the request, and if they agree, then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will formulate further recommendations.

Still, many vaccine providers aren’t checking qualifications, and some Texans have reported being offered booster doses by their physician or pharmacy six months after their first series.

As an academic advisor at the University of Texas at Austin, Kristen Kessel said she’s working back in person on the college campus. Worried to bring the virus home to her three young children, she was eager to get a booster shot.

“My highest priority with all the COVID stuff is just making sure we are being safe and doing everything we can to not spread it to them,” she said.

  • Explore more vaccination, case data for Central Texas here

As of early November, 98,392 people in Travis County had already received an additional dose, which is more than 12% of all the fully-vaccinated individuals in the county. Records from the Texas Department of State Health Services show more than 1.8 million people across Texas have logged an additional dose.

DSHS logs these records as “additional doses” because they also include any third doses given to immunocompromised individuals, under guidance published in August, which officials say is needed to generate a similar immune response that people who are not immunocompromised get from two doses. This is different from a “booster” shot given to increase the level of disease protection in other people that may have started to wane, several months after the initial series of doses were given.

Earlier this year, an expert advisory panel of the FDA had expressed hesitation about recommending boosters to all adults, questioning the necessity for younger, healthy individuals. Even still, some national reports have indicated the FDA could expand booster expansion before the end of the year.

Travis County officials told the commissioners court and Austin City Council on Tuesday they were still focused on getting people fully vaccinated.

“Even as we move into boosters, we will continue to be intentional to reach out to those who aren’t vaccinated or not fully vaccinated,” said Adrienne Sturrup of Austin Public Health.

Kessel described her booster experience by saying, “clearly they had been doing it a lot, as they were a well-oiled machine at that point.”

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