City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Planning for the future COVID-19 vaccine commences to ensure successful rapid distribution
Austin, Texas – Today, Oct. 23, Austin Public Health (APH) launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Coalition. The coalition, which is comprised of local health care and community partners, will assist APH in developing strategies to reach the desired level of COVID-19 vaccination coverage for our community once a vaccine is readily available.
Coalitions within local jurisdictions were identified by the federal government as a best practice and are key to successful rapid vaccine distribution planning.
“Slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County has been a community effort since the beginning,” said APH Director Stephanie Hayden. “Planning for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will once again require many stakeholders and a community effort to be successful. We still have a long road ahead of us, but the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Coalition marks the beginning of a new chapter in our response.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations, which includes information about COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation considerations and guidance.
Notably, COVID-19 vaccine supply is expected to be limited at the beginning of distribution, so the allocation of doses may need to be prioritized for critical populations such as critical infrastructure workers, people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, people at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19, and people with limited access to routine vaccination services.
“As a community, we need to recognize that even when a vaccine becomes available, initially it will not be widely available for the general public,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We will need to prioritize our most vulnerable and ensure equitable distribution across our community.”
Initial coalition meetings will focus on identifying these critical populations as well as strategizing for distribution channels, vaccine temperature storage and management, and community messaging and engagement efforts.
For COVID-19 information and updates, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.