Shortening the vaccine schedule allows for equitable access to vaccine protection
AUSTIN, Texas – The process of getting up to date with COVID-19 vaccines has been expedited following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has announced that those who are unvaccinated (over the age of 5) will only need to receive a single bivalent COVID-19 vaccine instead of two monovalent vaccines.
“This new guidance is a boon towards providing equitable access to vaccines. Being able to get the protection you need with just one stop at a doctor’s office or pharmacy will save many people time and effort that can be hard to spare with busy schedules,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “For those who are unvaccinated, now is the best time to get that first dose and protect yourself from COVID-19.”
For young children, multiple doses continue to be recommended and will vary by age, vaccine, and which vaccines were previously received.
The CDC also announced that those who are 65 years of age and older and those who are immunocompromised may receive a second bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if they have already received their first. Those who do not fall into these two categories are not currently eligible for a second bivalent vaccine.
Vaccines are available at Austin Public Health’s Shots for Tots and Big Shots clinics, as well as our community vaccine events. You can also find a list of vaccine providers in your area at Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish).
Free COVID-19 tests
Free mail-order rapid antigen test kits are available once again through covid.gov/tests. Households are eligible for another round of four tests for a limited time.
At-home COVID-19 test kits are available at APH Neighborhood Centers while supplies last. The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services also lists community-based testing sites online.
Free masks (N-95 respirators)
Use the CDC’s mask-locator tool to find pharmacies near you that provide free masks (N-95 respirators). It does not show current inventories, so check with the location for availability.