AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health (APH) is now administering additional COVID-19 booster doses to older adults and certain individuals who are immunocompromised.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated recommendations also include an additional booster for individuals who received a primary dose and booster of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Austin-Travis County Health Authority, Dr. Desmar Walkes, says in a news release that enhanced eligibility is an important consideration for people who are at increased risk.
"Even as we enjoy this period of low hospitalization rates, this expansion is a welcome addition to our prevention strategies," said Dr. Walkes. "As we’re seeing in other parts of the world, COVID-19 outbreaks are still happening. We should continue to do what we can to protect our most vulnerable."
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reports that almost 73% of the eligible population in Travis County is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. When it comes to additional doses, though, about 45% of people that have completed their primary series have received a booster and/or a third dose.
The updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations include:
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to individuals 50 years of age and older at least 4 months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals 12 years of age and older at least 4 months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals 18 years of age and older at least 4 months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- Adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine.
Immunocompromised individuals may have a range of conditions, such as recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, recipients of active treatment for cancer, people who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system, and others. A full list of conditions can be found on CDC’s website.
CDC reports that during the omicron surge, people who were boosted were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized compared to those who were unvaccinated.
How you can get booster shots, vaccines:
"Vaccines are safe, effective and FREE. I encourage everyone who is a part of this newly eligible group to get up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible," said Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. "Boosters are available at all Austin Public Health vaccination sites, as well as your doctor’s office and pharmacy."
APH offers free COVID-19 vaccines through a combination of pop-up clinics, a static site, the Mobile Vaccination Program and Shots for Tots/Big Tots clinics. DSHS data shows most people in Travis County get COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies (1.1 million doses) followed by public health clinics (347,300+ doses). APH continues to adjust operations to better serve priority populations who are uninsured as the pandemic response evolves.
APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without an appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
The APH Mobile Vaccination Program brings vaccine clinics to businesses, churches, and more. Organizations can fill out an online form to request a pop-up clinic at their location.
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