"We want to have holidays that are safe and we want to get our families protected,"said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin’s health authority.
Earlier in the pandemic, Austin Public Health was going on cases and hospitalizations to determine stage movements. Right now admissions are low and it would seem fitting to drop down to stage two, but they have added another category to make this decision, community transmission rate.
"Doctors like to not just treat disease but we like to prevent disease and illness and we take several factors into consideration when making the stage changes," said Walkes.
"We are seeing 50 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days which puts us in a period of substantial transmission," she said.
With kids aged five and up being approved for the vaccine, APH said this is another moment they have been waiting for.
"We have the staff that are prepared to give the best care to these children and provide support to the parents and families," said Cassandra DeLeon, APH chief administration officer for disease prevention and health.
Travis County has 115,000 children in this age range, and APH said they have 6,000 doses ready to go out this week. They have already been giving them out at their Delco and Old Simms Elementary locations.
"We do allow for appointments but we also are providing services in a walk up capacity as well," said DeLeon.
Health officials say if you were fully vaccinated in the spring, you are already due for your booster, something they are encouraging ahead of the holiday season.
"We are about to enter into the seasonality of disease. This time last year we began to see a spike in our second surge, we don't want to be there again," said Janet Pichette, chief epidemiologist at APH.
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