How to get involved in building Austin-Travis County’s booster shot plan

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2021, file photo, a medical staff member prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Tudor Ranch in Mecca, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In an effort to create a booster shot distribution plan, as was directed by Austin City Council at the end of August, the City of Austin announced they were moving towards gathering community input.

Health leaders announced Tuesday in a COVID-19 update before Austin City Council and Travis County Commissioners that they will host two virtual town halls and take community feedback over the next few weeks.

Those virtual town halls are scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

You can sign up to comment and give feedback at SpeakupAustin.org, Constable George Morales showed city council and county commissioners, though the booster shot project has not yet been added to that website as of Tuesday morning.

“I appreciate y’all leading the charge,” Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes, the councilmember who brought that resolution forward, said.

U.S. health officials are recommending all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots as soon as six months after their second or final dose, as vaccine effectiveness has been shown to decrease over time, as is the case with most vaccines.

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 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine atleast 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • 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 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Austin-Travis County health leaders say they’re working to avoid the same backlog and speedbumps they saw earlier this year with their booster shot plan. They also say more vaccine is available, and there are more providers available to give it, which will make this distribution phase much smoother than what happened in February.

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