City of Austin, TX

04/06/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/06/2021 11:01

Vaccs Facts - Published April 6, 2021

Vaccs Facts is a weekly series of COVID-19 vaccine updates published by Austin Public Health.

Texas Expands Vaccine Eligibility to All Adults

Published April 6, 2021

Vaccine Approval

Vaccine Eligibility

  • The state recently expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years of age and older.
    • Note: All vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older, but only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older.
  • Starting Monday, April 5, Austin Public Health (APH) began to incrementally expand vaccine appointments to all adults, beginning with making everyone 40 years of age or older eligible to schedule in addition to the 1A/1B/1C and childcare/educators groups.
  • The demand for vaccine in these eligible groups is exceeding the supply of many providers across the Austin area.

Vaccine Data

  • APH released a COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Dashboard, which includes the total of APH-administered doses organized by priority age group, zip code, race/ethnicity, and the estimated 2019 Travis County population with the percentage of those 65 years of age and older for context.
  • As part of a statewide program to pilot regional COVID-19 vaccine hubs, APHhas received 12,000 first doses per week since Jan. 11 from Texas DSHS.
  • Since the launch of the pre-registration system on Jan. 13, more than 451,000 people have pre-registered, with more than 318,000 people meeting the current eligibility criteria.

Vaccine Providers

  • APH is one of two local vaccine hubs. The goal of these hubs is to provide more people the vaccine and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment, so they don't have to call a long list of providers every week looking for vaccine.
  • APH releases first dose appointments weekly on Monday evenings. Should additional vaccine doses become available later in the week, APH will conduct another appointment release on Thursday evening of each week.
  • Local pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination have started to receive direct allocations from the federal government. Individuals who are interested in getting vaccinated at their local pharmacy should check the pharmacy's website to find out if COVID-19 vaccine is available and if they are eligible for vaccination.
  • A handful of other local providers receive smaller allocations each week. A list of local providers can be found at centraltxvaccs.org and vaccinefinder.org.

Second Doses

  • The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine only requires one shot, while Pfizer and Moderna require a series of two doses given three (Pfizer) or four (Moderna) weeks apart. Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients will get a vaccination card showing which vaccine and lot number they received and when they should return for a second dose. 
  • APH currently receives the Moderna vaccine and is manually scheduling second doses by emailing, calling, or texting a date, time, and location.
  • If you received your first dose through Austin Public Health and it has been more than 28 days since your first dose and you have not received an appointment, you may walk-up to our vaccine sites and present your vaccine card to receive your second dose. However, if you have an appointment and walk-up to a different site and/or at a different time, you will be turned away and asked to arrive for your scheduled appointment.
  • If you cannot make your scheduled second dose appointment, log in to your account at covid19.austintexas.gov and cancel your second dose appointment - by doing this the system will reschedule you for a second dose at a later date. If you do not cancel your second dose appointment online, call 311 or 512-974-2000 and provide your name and number and the APH Equity Line will call you back to reschedule.
  • While the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended 21- or 28-day interval as possible, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended 3- or 4-week interval, and can get it up to 42 days or 6 weeks later.
  • If you are unable to get your second dose in the recommended timeframe, you do not have to start over. While missing the suggested interval delays full protection, you can still get the second dose later if you have difficulty getting it within the recommended time. You will get full protection from the vaccine 1-2 weeks after getting your second dose.

Side Effects

  • The FDA released fact sheets on the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for recipients and caregivers that includes information on vaccine ingredients and side effects.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

Continued 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 has recently published guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people can:
    • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
    • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
    • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
    • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
    • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States

For additional COVID-19 vaccine information, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19-Vaccines.