Austin Public Health will offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all adults age 18 and up beginning April 12. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Austin Public Health, Travis County’s largest COVID-19 vaccine provider, will open vaccine access to all Texas adults beginning April 12. Because APH typically receives the Moderna vaccine, which is only authorized for use for 18-year-olds and older, 16- and 17-year-olds are still ineligible to be vaccinated through APH.
While the Texas Department of State Health Services opened eligibility to everyone age 16 and up March 29, APH had until now opted to continue prioritizing individuals in phases 1A, 1B and 1C as well as school and child care workers. On April 5, APH also began offering doses to people age 40 and up.
According to APH Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard, the organization made the decision to extend access to all adults based on lessened demand from high-priority vaccine seekers; before opening appointments to 40-year-olds, for instance, an April 1 registration window resulted in thousands of vacant appointments. Additionally, APH officials said they were encouraged to see DSHS allocations extend to more local providers last week, including small clinics and pharmacies such as Lake Hills Pharmacy and South Oaks Family Medicine.
All of the appointments have been filled for this week!
We are excited to announce appointments will be open to the general public, including anyone 18+. Next appointment release for the FIRST dose of Moderna will be Monday (4/12)
Pre-register here: https://t.co/AVhWdhK3fS pic.twitter.com/TIImdYy0IW
— Austin Public Health (@AusPublicHealth) April 9, 2021
While adults can now sign up for vaccines through APH’s registration portal, Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard said APH would still aim to serve as a “safety net provider” for vulnerable community members.
“As we continue to move forward, Austin Public Health will be collaborating with other partners that are providing vaccines in Travis County to ensure that we are providing vaccines in the eastern crescent and are continuing to reach seniors,” Hayden-Howard said at an April 9 news conference.
In this vein, APH has partnered with Meals on Wheels to vaccinate homebound and hard-to-reach residents and has partnered with churches including St. James Missionary Baptist Church in East Austin to set up drive-thru clinics.