City of Austin, TX

02/23/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/23/2021 14:39

Vaccs Facts - Published February 23, 2021

Austin Continues Vaccine Distribution for Phase 1B Individuals

Published February 23, 2021

Vaccine Approval

  • The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • The vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson will present data from its clinical trials to the FDA on Feb. 26 for consideration of an Emergency Use Authorization.

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, Austin Public Health (APH) has received 12,000 first doses per week since Jan. 11 from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
  • Since the launch of the pre-registration system on Jan. 13, more than 306,000 people have pre-registered, with more than 229,000 people meeting the Phase 1A or 1B eligibility criteria.
  • APH has approximately 7,000 first doses and 7,500 second doses remaining from the Feb. 7 state allocation before the winter storm. Additionally, APH received 12,000 second doses from the state for the week of Feb. 14 and is slated to receive another 12,000 first doses this week.
  • APH has rescheduled approximately 3,300 appointments that had to be canceled due to weather and will then prioritize second doses this week.

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.
  • Due to inclement weather last week, APH had to cancel vaccine appointments. Operations have been expanded this week to address the backlog of rescheduled appointments.
  • 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. APH does not oversee other providers and their individual distribution plans. However, APH is working across the healthcare system and the vaccine coalition to set guidelines that support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DSHS framework for distribution.
  • The demand for vaccine in Phase 1A and 1B is exceeding the supply of many providers across the Austin area. We continue to ask for the community's patience as vaccine availability ramps up in the coming weeks and months.

Second Doses

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle in a series of two doses given three (Pfizer) or four (Moderna) weeks apart. 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 began administering second doses prior to the winter weather for those who received their first dose during the first week of the APH vaccine hub. We will continue second dose scheduling this week and are prioritizing second doses as we address appointment backlog.
  • Second doses cannot be taken before the three- or four-week period, but they can be taken after. There is no maximum interval after your first dose, per CDC guidance.
  • Studies of both vaccines indicate that immunity following the first dose is approximately 50% at one week following the vaccine. It is important to note that in the Moderna trial, individuals who only received one dose were followed for an average of 28 days after the first dose. The vaccine efficacy for the single-dose, when evaluated >14 days after the first dose, was 92.1%. While this arm of the study was not randomized, it does support ongoing improvements in the effectiveness of the vaccine following a single dose and suggests safety in delaying the second dose as indicated by the CDC.

Side Effects

  • The FDA released fact sheets on the Pfizer vaccine and Moderna 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 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.
  • COVID19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you COVID19. The vaccine does not alter your DNA. COVID19 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 recommends that the vaccine be offered to people regardless of whether they have a history of COVID-19 infection. 
  • It is not yet clear from the vaccine trials whether individuals who receive the vaccine can still transmit COVID-19 to others. It is therefore very important that even those vaccinated take the same precautions as before to ensure that they do not inadvertently spread the virus as a carrier.
  • Updated quarantine guidance from CDC doesn't require people who are fully vaccinated and without symptoms to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

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