AUSTIN, Texas - Travis County will be opening a new mass vaccination site at Circuit of the Americas this week.
The site will focus on vaccinating teachers and school staff in four counties in the area.
The plan was unanimously approved by Travis County commissioners Tuesday. The site is expected to open this week with 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that have been provided by the state.
Four county judges joined forces to get teachers and school staff vaccinated.
"When I reached out to all three of the judges, they immediately leaped at the concept of working together, across party lines, just getting this job done and it’s been a really great process so far," said Travis County Judge Andy Brown.
The judges collectively sent a letter to the Texas Department of State Health Services outlining their plan to vaccinate 50,000 people per week at a drive-thru site on COTA's property.
"In response to this letter, the Department of State Health Services has provided 3,000 vaccines for us to distribute this week in a single event at the Circuit of the America’s, kind of what I see as a test run of ramping it up at a larger location with the hope that we’ll get a lot more to do more," Brown said.
To streamline the process, Travis County will have volunteer staff on site and will turn to Community Care health care personnel.
"Community Care will be officially the provider at the site, meaning that they will provide the vaccinators, they will provide the data entry and the scribes to do the record keeping," said Charles Brotherton, Travis County Executive of Emergency Services.
Those who will be vaccinated will need to meet certain criteria laid out by the state.
Meaning, the site will only schedule people 65 and older or with underlying medical conditions that make them high risk for COVID-19 complications. Appointments will be required to get on site.
"I believe what we’re targeting for this coming weekend is we’re really gonna be focusing on school districts in those four counties to get their 1B staff through," Brotherton said.
If the county is able to pull off the plan this weekend at COTA, the hope is the state will allocate more doses next week so they can ramp up vaccination efforts quickly. They hope to eventually open vaccines to everyone in the four-county region.
"If this is a success and we continue scaling, then we would have a platform much like what is being used currently by Austin Public Health," said Brotherton.
Counties will be tasked with reaching out to each school district to set up appointments for eligible school district staff.