Councilmember Fuentes addresses low vax rates in new resolution

Claire O'Neal is a district two resident who, like many others, remains deeply concerned about the Delta variant.

"I have an eight-month old and a three-year-old and COVID is always on my mind because they can't get vaccinated yet," she said.

She said also finding out that some parts of her district hold a very low vaccination rate concerns her even more. "These are the people I’m going to the grocery store with, going to the shopping center and interacting with," she said.

A resolution brought forward by Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes aims to make the city develop a citywide comprehensive plan for the COVID-19 booster shot, but it also aims to address why the vax rates are so low and hospital admissions so high in district two.

"My district in particular has one of the lowest vaccination rates so this resolution also calls that we have equity in our approach," said Fuentes.

Fuentes said misinformation, and mistrust are common themes she hears when it comes to getting the shot. "For our Del Valle zip code which is 78617, it's the least vaccinated zip code. If I already know that my community is struggling to get the first shot then we have to really have a robust public education campaign ready to say why you need a third shot," said Fuentes.

The goal the council member said is equity, making sure those in the 78617 and 78744 are not left out in the city's plans to keep all Austinites healthy. This includes making sure the COVID-19 vaccine is accessible for all.

"Whatever the city of Austin or the county can do to bring things to us, the better," said O’Neal, regarding vaccine access and events.

The city council will vote on the item at the Aug. 26 council meeting.

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