Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County's health authority, said that enhanced eligibility is an important consideration for people who are at increased risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
“Even as we enjoy this period of low hospitalization rates, this expansion is a welcome addition to our prevention strategies,” Walkes said. “As we’re seeing in other parts of the world, COVID-19 outbreaks are still happening. We should continue to do what we can to protect our most vulnerable.”
Updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations include:
A second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may be administered to individuals 50 years old and older at least four months after they received a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine
A second booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine may be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals 12 years old and older at least four months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine
A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals 18 years old and older at least four months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine
Adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose using a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine
APH notes that immunocompromised individuals may have a range of conditions, such as people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, recipients of active cancer treatment, people who are taking medications that can weaken the immune system and others. A full list of conditions can be found on the CDC's website.
The CDC said that during the recent omicron surge, people who were boosted were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 and seven times less likely to be hospitalized compared to those who were unvaccinated.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reports that almost 73% of the eligible population in Travis County is fully vaccinated. About 45% of people who completed their primary vaccine series have received a booster and/or third dose.
According to APH, DSHS data shows most people in Travis County get COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies (1.1 million doses) followed by public health clinics (more than 347,300 doses).
To find a vaccine provider near you, visit Vaccines.gov or text your ZIP code to 438829. APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without an appointment, although the agency notes that creating an online account saves time. Vaccinations are free and do not require identification or insurance.
For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 311 or 512-974-2000, or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19. Organizations can also fill out an online form to request an APH Mobile Vaccination Program pop-up clinic at their location.
Britny Eubank on social media: Twitter
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: