Thursday, August 26, 2021

Austin City Council Directs City Staff to Develop a COVID-19 Booster Shot Strategy

Austin City Council Directs City Staff to Develop a COVID-19 Booster Shot Strategy that Meets the Needs of the Community
Aug 26, 2021 03:04 pm

On Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 Austin City Council unanimously approved a resolution (Item 110) that calls on City staff to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 booster shot strategy that is both equitable and efficient. President Biden's booster shot rollout, which was announced on Aug. 18, is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 20. 
 
"As recommended booster shots quickly approach, this policy ensures we have a targeted strategy in place that takes into account all of the lessons learned from the initial vaccine rollout," said Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes. "This needs to go beyond fixing the technical issues. We need a plan that is readily available to Austinites, laying out how we're going to get booster shots in arms while still addressing low vaccination rates, especially in our communities of color."
 
"This is a meaner, more aggressive form of the virus than we faced last summer," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. "It will require us to improve the distribution of these vaccine boosters, while also continuing to encourage and incentivize the initial vaccine within at-risk communities."
 
The resolution calls for a booster shot strategy that:

  • Is equitable;
  • Builds on lessons learned;
  • Accounts for the need to address ongoing vaccine access issues affecting communities most impacted by COVID-19;
  • Builds on the City's recent commitment to increase its Community Health Worker staffing and improve health education; and
  • Calls for a robust community engagement and communication strategy.

 
This resolution also tasks staff with reporting any outstanding needs of any City department taking a role in the implementation of the booster shot process as well as calls for a memorandum due back Sept. 21 and a work session presentation on Sept. 28.
 
"Every day, hundreds more Austinites are taking control of their health and choosing to get the vaccine, and together we can beat this pandemic," said Austin City Council Member Greg Casar. "Let's make sure our eligible friends and neighbors get their booster shot as soon as possible."  
 
"The science is clear: vaccines are our greatest defense against this virus," said Austin City Council Member Alison Alter. "Booster shots are not new; most of us have received boosters for things like tetanus, whooping cough, and hepatitis. COVID boosters will better protect our community, and we must have a plan to ensure we are dispersing vaccines efficiently and equitably."  
 
"Vaccination is how we stop the spread and slow down the creation of new variants – and we must continue to ensure everyone has access," said Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen. "Booster shots will help extend protections for those already vaccinated and be there when the newly vaccinated need their "boost".  It's how we are going to get to the other side of this pandemic. Get vaccinated!"
 
Third doses are currently recommended eight months after the initial course of the two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. However, those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are eligible now. Booster shots for single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines are still pending. For more information, visit austintexas.gov/covid19



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