Despite eligibility expansion, Austin Public Health still offering vaccine to limited groups

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
March 29 is the first day that all adults qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

March 29 is the first day that all adults qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

March 29 marks the first day that any Texan over age 16 is eligible to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine appointment. However, Austin Public Health—one of Travis County's largest vaccine providers—has not opened appointments to the general public as of that date, and is still reserving vaccines for the 1A, 1B and 1C priority groups, as well as school and childcare staff.

"'[We] are working on system modifications to add the public while prioritizing earlier groups," APH said in a tweet.

People over the age of 16 can still seek appointments elsewhere, including with local private providers and some public providers in other counties.

During the week of March 29, over one million first-dose vaccines are expected to be delivered to providers across the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. 104,230 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are headed to Travis County, including doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Of those, 69,970 will go to the DSHS Central Pharmacy Warehouse and the DSHS laboratory, respectively, and may not be immediately available to the public.

Regional hub provider APH will receive its typical allocation of 12,000 Moderna doses. Ascension-Seton Medical Center, located at 1201 W. 38th St., Austin, will receive an allocation of 14,040 doses. Travis County’s other hub provider, UT Health Austin, is not scheduled to receive an allocation this week.

Other providers receiving doses include Lake Hills Pharmacy, Northwest Hills at Davenport Pharmacy, two Walgreens locations, three H-E-B Pharmacy locations, the Austin Regional Clinic locations and Flu Busters, LLC—a vaccinator located at 720 W. 34th St., Austin. See the full list here.

The DSHS has also launched a new tool for the influx of vaccine seekers to use when searching for an appointment. Using the state’s “vaccine scheduler," people can submit information to a database that connects to appointments at many of Texas’ local public health providers. APH is not among the participants, but neighboring public health entities in Hays County and Bastrop County are.

To preregister for an appointment with APH, which continues to release appointments on Monday evenings, vaccine seekers should continue to use the organization’s online portal.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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