Friday, January 27, 2023

New APH Campaign Encourages Families To Vaccinate Against COVID-19 & Flu


COVID-19 vaccine coverage lowest among children  

COVID-19 vaccination rates among children in Travis County continue to lag far behind those of adults. During a particularly active flu season and faced with increasingly transmissible COVID-19 subvariants, it’s important that all parents take action to protect children from serious illness and hospitalization. 

“I’m concerned about the low vaccine uptake we’re seeing among our children,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We want to do everything we can to help empower parents to protect their families from these vaccine-preventable illnesses.” 

A campaign called “Be Your Child’s Hero” aims to build vaccine confidence among parents and caregivers by emphasizing vaccines’ proven safety and efficacy. This bilingual initiative serves as a tool to help decrease serious symptoms of COVID-19 and flu by increasing vaccination rates. Content will roll out in phases and is tailored to culturally diverse parents and caregivers in Austin-Travis County. 

COVID-19 pediatric vaccine uptake by the numbers (as of Jan. 19): 

  • Among children ages 5 to 11, only about 41.2% have completed their primary series. That figure is even lower among children 6 months to 4 years, 11 months—9.5%. This age group is at high risk of serious symptoms. 

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows Texas has the seventh lowest bivalent booster coverage rate in the nation (10.2%) among those ages 5 and older. Studies continue to show COVID-19 vaccines are safe, including a new report on updated booster safety among children 5 to 11 years.  

"Our kids have already missed so much during the pandemic.  Getting your family up to date on COVID-19 and flu vaccines helps keep them in the classroom, participating in sports and other extracurricular activities and out of the doctor’s office,” said Adrienne Sturrup, Austin Public Health (APH) Director.  

Please visit AustinTexas.gov/BeYourChildsHero to learn more about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 and flu vaccines and share this information with your loved ones.  

Find social media messages, flyers and videos available to be shared in the media toolkit.

Vaccine Providers  

Visit Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) to find flu and COVID-19 vaccine providers near you.       

Free COVID-19 tests   

Free mail-order rapid antigen test kits are available once again through covid.gov/tests. Households are eligible for another round of four tests for a limited time.   

At-home COVID-19 test kits are available at APH Neighborhood Centers while supplies last. The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services also lists community-based testing sites online.    

Free masks (N-95 respirators)    

Use the CDC’s mask-locator tool to find pharmacies near you that provide free masks (N-95 respirators). It does not show current inventories, so check with the location for availability.

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