More than three-quarters of people aged 65 and over in Austin-Travis County are fully vaccinated, public health officials said Tuesday. For the entire eligible population – that is, people aged 12 and over – it is more than 54 percent.
The area remains in Level 2 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines, and the city’s medical director says forecasts of the UT Austin Covid-19 Modeling Consortium show that this will likely be the case for a while.
Dr. Desmar Walkes said this is partly due to the fact that most places no longer require masks and life is slowly returning to normal before the summer months.
“There was a feeling that we were at the end of this (pandemic). We’re not, ”Walkes told a joint meeting of Austin City Council and Travis County commissioners, stressing that getting a free vaccine has never been easier.
Adrienne Stirrup, APH interim director, said data on vaccination rates, broken down by race and ethnicity, shows that there is still much to be done.
“We are still seeing numbers that need improvement in the black and African American community,” she said.
There was a surge in vaccination rates in this population after Austin Public Health worked with religious groups. Stirrup says the health department plans to host several vaccination events on Friday and Saturday June tenth bank holiday.
District 4 Police Officer George Morales, who led much of the work of the county’s mobile vaccine strike team, says the focus remains on outreach and education so “our teams can be more successful out there.”
As part of this work, they are hosting an event on Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex that will be “100 percent educational”.
“It’s a scary process because some people are just not familiar with what we’re looking at,” said Morales. “We’re working to reach the hard-to-reach areas – people with a lack of transportation, wifi and access to technology. These are our priorities and our concern. “
Travis County officials will continue to offer Pfizer vaccines at the Travis County Expo Center over the weekend while demand continues. More than 1,300 shots were fired during the passage last weekend.
This story was made under the Austin MonitorReporting partnership with KUT.
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