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Austin Public Health to receive 12,000 COVID-19 vaccines next week

APH said it will be launching a vaccine registration system for those eligible, with a focus on vulnerable residents.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health (APH) will receive 12,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses next week as part of the state’s next distribution.

The allocation, which represents less than 1% of the area population, is part of a statewide program to pilot regional COVID-19 vaccine hubs.

Doses will be made available to those who qualify under the state’s criteria for Phase 1A and 1B, including health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, residents 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe disease and death from COVID-19.

Vaccines will be administered next week to residents of long-term care facilities not enrolled in the federal pharmacy program, through a closed clinic.

RELATED: Texas to begin directing COVID-19 vaccine to large hubs next week

APH said it has strategically identified vaccine clinic locations in the hardest hit communities. That includes sites that are indoors with large seating areas to monitor individuals who have been given the vaccine, have ample parking, connections to transit and can be set up for dozens of stations. Those locations will only be available to those with scheduled appointments.

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

RELATED: Texas policy could make COVID-19 vaccine less accessible to people who need it most

APH will also soon launch a COVID-19 vaccine registration system that focuses on serving vulnerable residents. It will have the ability to contact qualifying individuals to encourage them to schedule an appointment when vaccine allocation is available. A phone line will be available for those without internet.

Next week’s allocation will not be enough to cover everyone who qualifies. Anyone who can get a vaccine through their health care provider, a pharmacy or other provider is asked to help save this allocation for the area’s most vulnerable population.

Residents are urged to be patient and keep practicing preventative measures to protect themselves and others.

“The situation in Austin-Travis County is still dire, and getting worse every day,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “Hospitals are close to capacity, and health care staff are burdened and exhausted. Just because more vaccine is being delivered each week does not mean that individuals should slow preventative measures. It would be especially tragic to have more deaths and hospitalizations when we are so close to getting our vulnerable populations vaccinated. Everyone needs to do their part to slow the spread by staying home as much as possible, and, if they leave their home, wearing a mask, watching their distance and washing their hands frequently.”

APH is one of more than 350 groups distributing the COVID-19 vaccines in Travis County. The weekly distribution is determined by Texas Department of State Health Services.

More information can be found on the APH website.

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