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COVID-19

Austin Public Health To Receive 12,000 Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week

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Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Austin Public Health expects to receive 12,000 doses next week of the COVID-19 vaccine, which it plans to allocate to vulnerable groups.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is giving APH the doses as part of a statewide program to create regional “vaccine hubs,” according to a press release from APH.

The 12,000 doses will go to people who meet the state’s criteria for who can receive a vaccine right now: health care workers and long-term care facility residents (phase 1A); and people 65 or older or those with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for complications from COVID-19 (phase 1B).

APH says it will start with phase 1A, specifically people living in long-term care facilities that aren’t enrolled in the federal pharmacy program.

In the coming days, APH plans to set up a vaccine registration system – accessible online and via phone – for residents. Individuals who meet the current criteria for vaccination might be able to receive one of these initial 12,000 doses or one from future allocations.

“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,” APH Director Stephanie Hayden said in the release.

APH says it will prioritize vulnerable residents, such as those without health insurance, and it has identified spaces to set up vaccine clinics in communities hardest hit by COVID-19. To protect patient privacy, the agency says, the locations will be available only to people who schedule appointments.

“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,” Hayden said. “We have a long road ahead, but we are excited to take the first step toward vaccinating those most vulnerable to this pandemic.”

APH encourages people who can get a vaccine through their own health care provider or pharmacy to go that route to help save APH’s limited supply.

Got a tip? Email Marisa Charpentier at mcharpentier@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.

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