City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vaccs Facts is a weekly series of COVID-19 vaccine updates published by Austin Public Health.
Austin Pilots Large-Scale Vaccine Distribution for Phase 1B Individuals
Published January 19, 2021
- The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- As part of a statewide program to pilot regional COVID-19 vaccine hubs, Austin Public Health (APH) received 12,000 doses in last week’s allocation from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
- The 12,000 vaccines, which represent less than 1% of the area population, were administered to those who met the State’s criteria for Phase 1A and 1B of vaccination.
- APH worked with partner organizations to serve uninsured and underinsured individuals in Phase 1A and 1B on Jan. 11-13.
- On Jan. 13, APH launched a COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system for area residents to sign up for future APH vaccine doses.
- From Jan. 14-16, APH vaccinated 1A and 1B individuals who pre-registered using the system at multiple sites around town. All 12,000 vaccines were distributed between Monday and Saturday.
- APH received a second shipment of 12,000 vaccines from Texas DSHS as part of the DSHS Week 6 allocation. APH plans to use the registration system to distribute them all within the week.
- There are currently more than 350 pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hospital groups, and other providers signed up to provide COVID-19 vaccines in Austin-Travis County.
- At this time, it is important to remember that not everyone who fits the DSHS and APH criteria will be able to get the vaccine through these first large allocations from DSHS. If you can get a vaccine through your healthcare provider, a pharmacy, or another provider please help us save this limited allocation for our most vulnerable populations.
- APH does not oversee other providers and their individual distribution plans. However, APH is working across the healthcare system and the vaccine coalition to set guidelines that support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DSHS framework for distribution.
- Last week was the final week that DSHS is required to reserve doses for the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. This has freed up more vaccine for use in other settings moving forward.
- Some providers have begun vaccinating individuals in Phase 1B, which includes those over the age of 65 and people with medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19. However, APH understands from conversations with other providers that the demand for vaccine in Phase 1B is exceeding the supply of many providers across the Austin area, who are still focused on Phase 1A.
- As a reminder, the ability to respond to the current surge in COVID-19 will determine our ability to distribute vaccine. The same resources planning vaccine distribution are also managing testing sites and caring for patients during this record-breaking surge. We need to help our public health and healthcare workers by flattening the curve.
Safety & Precautions
- Even with limited vaccines available in our community, people need to continue to take additional COVID-19 prevention measures including: wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and staying home if you’re sick.
- The CDC recommends that the vaccine be offered to people regardless of whether they have a history of COVID-19 infection.
- It is not yet clear from the vaccine trials whether individuals who receive the vaccine can still transmit COVID-19 to others. It is therefore very important that even those vaccinated take the same precautions as before to ensure that they do not inadvertently spread the virus as a carrier.
- The FDA released fact sheets on the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine for recipients and caregivers that includes information on vaccine ingredients and side effects. The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle in a series of two doses given three (Pfizer) or four (Moderna) weeks apart. Vaccine recipients will get a vaccination card showing which vaccine and lot number they received and when they should return for a second dose.
- While the COVID-19 vaccine may cause side effects such as fatigue, headache, fever, chills, nausea, muscle pain, and joint pain, these side effects show that the vaccine is working.
- Vaccine recipients should be monitored for at least 15 minutes for a more serious allergic reaction. People who have a history of allergic reactions should be monitored for 30 minutes.
- COVID‑19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you COVID‑19. The vaccine does not alter your DNA. COVID‑19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an immune response without having to experience sickness.
- The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines to make sure even very rare side effects are identified. V-SAFE is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.
For additional COVID-19 vaccine information, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19-Vaccines.