Following the emergency use authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration, UT Health Austin and Dell Medical School began administering some of Austin's first doses Dec. 15.

University of Texas pharmacy students prepared the first doses for administration to health care staff in accordance with Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines, according to communications from Dell Medical School. Stephanie Vasquez, a UT Health Austin nurse, was among the first to be vaccinated.

"I did it because I want to help my community, and someone has to start," Vasquez said, according to a tweet from Dell Med.

Vasquez and all others who receive doses today will have to follow up in 21 days to receive a second dose in order to be fully immunized against COVID-19. In the meantime, they are still vulnerable to the virus, and should continue protective practices such as masking and social distancing.

UT Health Austin and Dell Medical School were among the first local facilities to receive shipments of the vaccine, obtaining 2,925 doses Dec. 14. Austin-area hospitals were set to receive 16,575 doses in total by Dec. 15. DSHS is expected to follow up with further shipments of Pfizer's vaccine next week statewide.