Addressing COVID disparities will take a comprehensive approach that addresses not only the mitigation of the virus, but also one that collaboratively addresses resources and partnerships to support community resilience and other factors that contribute to overall health and well-being.

APH continues to use data to drive community-centered intervention

Population-Based Focus

Using data to identify populations most severely impacted by COVID-19.

Through the APH dashboards, we understand that the following populations have been most impacted:

  • Black
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Seniors
  • Essential Workers

These communities are where we focus our equity efforts.

 Place-Based Focus

Using data to identify areas most severely impacted by COVID-19, including those with limited testing and vaccination resources.

Community-Based Testing Sites

COVID-19 testing locations were set up for people in neighborhoods that have experienced the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in Austin. This place-based focus for testing allowed us to meet people where they were to reduce the barrier to accessing services. 

180,230 total tests were administered through APH sites (data as of April 21, 2021).

Community-Based Mass Vaccination Sites

Similar to community-based testing sites, mass vaccination sites were set up for people in neighborhoods that have experienced the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Austin to curb virus transmission. APH sites include:

302,814 vaccinations have been administered by APH across mass vaccination sites, along with focused vaccine operations, as of May 10, 2021.

Mobile Vaccination Program and Vaccination Education Outreach

Austin Public Health offers a Mobile Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccination education outreach. 

 Community Partnerships

Recognizing a community-centered approach is built on intentional partnership with community organizations.

APH partners with the Central Texas Allied Health Institute (CTAHI) to provide culturally relevant testing and vaccination services.

APH also partners with local organizations to provide culturally relevant vaccine outreach and engagement.

Vaccine Outreach & Engagement Partners

 Community Engagement

Recognizing a community-centered approach is built on intentional partnerships and feedback from impacted communities.

Within the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center, the following task forces guide and implement community engagement activities that address disparities to ensure that disparities are not inadvertently created or exacerbated.

Task Forces

Asian/Pacific Islander Task Force

This task force holds a bi-weekly Facebook Live, MyAPI Live, in multiple languages including Burmese, Vietnamese, and Mandarin. They have also been active in promoting the national StopAAPIhate initiative, which developed an incident report for instances of Asian American and Pacific Islander harassment.

Contact: Binh Ly

Black/African Diaspora Task Force

This task force continues to provide and improve access to COVID-19 service delivery, social support, education, and outreach. They recently completed an 8 week series titled “The Village Speaks," in partnership with Saffron Trust on Instagram Live, and are now working to set-up events with Black barbers and stylists in the Black Diaspora community to improve their overall health and wellness.

Contact: Cynthia Washington

Hispanic/Latinx Task Force

This task force routinely hosts meetings with Hispanic/Latinx community leaders and groups. They have also spearheaded the Austin Public Health - En Español Facebook Group to disseminate important COVID-19 information in Spanish.

Contact: Maren Lujan

Community-Centered Strategies

Equitable access means shifting from a “one-size fits all approach” to employing strategies that address systemic gaps and barriers.

To address these gaps and barriers, APH has strategies throughout the COVID-19 response including an Equity Line, In-Home Testing, a Faith-Based Vaccination Initiative, a Mobile Vaccine Program, and Personal Protective Equipment Distributions.

Learn More About The Strategies

Equity Line

The APH Equity Line provides testing and vaccination registration and scheduling assistance for those who may not have access to the internet, computer, or are not tech-savvy.

To utilize this service, residents can call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000. Call takers can assist with technical issues, account creation, and pre-registration. For additional assistance, they will take your name and number and provide to the APH Equity Line for a callback. 

The Equity Line has scheduled 27,463 vaccine appointments as of May 21, 2021.

In-Home Testing

Home testing units allow medical professionals to administer tests in the patient’s home, helping to limit person-to-person spread by keeping potentially infected residents quarantined at home. This type of testing is ideal for anyone with mobility issues, underlying health issues, or those lacking transportation within the Austin-Travis County area.

Individuals interested in this type of testing can call the Equity Line.

1,542 people have been served through in-home testing efforts, as of April 21, 2021. 

Faith-Based Vaccination Initiative

APH is also working within faith communities to provide pop-up vaccination services at their sites. This approach allows community members to get vaccinated within a community they are familiar and comfortable with. Past and future faith-based vaccination sites include:

  • Alpha Seventh-Day Adventist Church 
  • Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church 
  • Mt. Sinai Baptist Church 
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church 
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church 
  • Rehoboth Baptist Church 
  • Sacred Heart Catholic Church 
  • St. James Missionary Baptist Church 
  • Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church 

3,343 people have been served at faith-based vaccination sites, as of April 17, 2021.

Mobile Vaccine Program

Through partnerships with community organizations including Meals on Wheels, Foundation Communities, Family Eldercare, and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, APH provides mobile vaccines for homebound seniors.

5,021 total vaccines have been administered through the Mobile Vaccine Program as of May 20, 2021.

Personal Protective Equipment Distribution

APH, in partnership with CommUnityCare and Central Health, is hosting a series of free personal protective equipment (PPE) distributions over the next several weeks in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rates based on testing data. The distributions provide hand sanitizer, masks, and educational materials.

15,620 families have been served through the distributions, with 59,422 masks and 18,467 hand sanitizers distributed, as of March 31, 2021.

Culturally Relevant Messaging

Media Outreach

  • APH is investing 51% of the advertising budget to reach the Hispanic community. Of the more than $1.8 million in advertising dollars spent on COVID19 vaccination efforts since Feb. 12, 2021, $961,100 (roughly 51% total spend) was spent on Hispanic media focus.  
  • As of April 13, 2021, the total spent on advertising increased to $2.6 million and, of that, more than $1.5 million (still roughly 51%) was spent on Latinx/Hispanic media focus, including Univision, Telemundo, El Mundo, La Z Radio, and Latina 102.7 Radio and Norsan Radio.
  • APH is also working with FOX7, Spectrum, CBS Austin and KXAN to specifically reach the Hispanic, African American and Asian communities through focused online and streaming ads during streaming content on multiple cable channels. 

Language Access

  • The vaccination portal has six languages users can choose from to register for the vaccine, including English, Spanish, Korean, Burmese, Vietnamese, and Chinese. 
  • Residents can also call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 to get help registering for the vaccine in their preferred language.
  • 3-1-1’s language translation vendor supports more than 240 languages 

Equitable Access

  • APH is working with a texting company to contact residents, with a focus on the Eastern Crescent, who may not have access to internet services, giving them information on how to contact APH for registration/account assistance, including information on the multiple language services that are provided.
  • The texting outreach has resulted in a boost in call volume (1,072 calls) to 3-1-1 for language access in the month of March.