"We have a shortage of vaccine. We don't have vaccine available that we can provide widely in our community," she said at a briefing at the Travis County Commissioners Court Tuesday.
The state allocated 700,000 initial doses, and Hayden says 42,000 doses went to Travis County, but only 1,300 to Austin Public Health so far. She said they only have been able to concentrate on the Phase 1A group, healthcare workers. However, some providers in the county have already begun offering the vaccine to those who fall under Phase 1B.
"That opened up eligibility to people 65 and older and 16 years and older with an underlying health condition. So that is going to be the majority of people in Travis County. We have been focusing still on 1A to ensure the critical health infrastructure before moving out to 1B," said Hayden.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services' spreadsheet, close to 18,000 people in Travis County have actually received the vaccine thus far.
"Taking the vaccine is key to the longevity of life. We finally are ending 2020 on a good note by having this vaccine," said Derrick McKnight, deputy testing supervisor at APH.
The vaccine is being welcomed by healthcare professionals as numbers continue to rise post-holiday season in Austin. "The projection right now is that we will exceed capacity (ICU) by Jan. 15," said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority.
Escott said Tuesday, since Dec. 4, the start of the holiday season, there has been a 98 percent increase in cases and the 7-day moving average, something he is hoping to curb, to buy time to get the vaccine administered.
"Within 72 hours I got phone calls from people I know. One lost their wife, one lost their mother, and another colleague I work with in Houston died himself from COVID-19. These stories are going to increase," said Escott, warning if things stay on the current projections.