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[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:08]

GOOD MORNING.

I'M LASHONDRA SHAW PIO FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND I AM THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S MEDIA AVAILABILITY.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION OF THE MEDIA AVAILABILITY IS AVAILABLE ON ATX IN THREE TO START AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, STEPHANIE HAYDEN HOWARD, OR FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY DR.

MARK SCOTT, INTERIM AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY, AND THEN JANET PICHET AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST.

WE WILL THEN OPEN IT UP TO THE POOL REPORTER WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA DIRECTOR, STEPHANIE HAYDEN, HOWARD, OVER TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO SHARE THE NEWS THAT THE CITY OF AUSTIN HAS PROVIDED 28,717 VACCINES.

AS OF TODAY, WE KNOW THAT VACCINES ARE JUST ONE STRATEGY TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE.

WE MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE MUST CONTINUE TO WEAR OUR MASKS.

AS WE ARE MAKING THE CENTRAL'S TRIPS.

YOU CANNOT LEAVE THE MASK AT HOME.

YOU SHOULD NOT GO INTO BUSINESSES WITHOUT YOUR MASK, AND YOU MUST CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASK, UM, TO KEEP US SAFE.

WE WANT YOU TO WASH YOUR HANDS AS WELL AS WATCH YOUR DISTANCE AND STAY HOME.

IF YOU'RE NOT FEELING WELL WITH THE VACCINES, WE ARE CONTINUING TO PRIORITIZE PEOPLE THAT ARE 65 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER.

WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE OVER 129,000 PEOPLE THAT MEET THAT CRITERIA.

SO WE WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE PEOPLE THAT ARE YOUNGER THAN 65 YEARS OF AGE CLEANINGS CONSIDER.

SO ALLOW A PERSON THAT IS 65 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER, THAT SPOT THAT YOU MAY WANT TO TAKE WITH THAT.

I WILL TRANSITION OVER TO DR.

SCOTT.

THANK YOU, STEPHANIE.

AND I, I WANT TO REITERATE WHAT STEPHANIE HAS TALKED ABOUT IN TERMS OF, OF MASKING.

UH, THERE'S SOME CONFUSION OUT THERE, UNFORTUNATELY, BUT IT IS THE LAW IN THE STATE OF TEXAS THAT YOU WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC PLACES IN BUILDINGS.

UH, AND IF A BUSINESS REQUIRES YOU TO WEAR A MASK AND YOU REFUSE TO WEAR A MASK OR YOU REFUSE TO LEAVE, THAT'S A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, THAT'S TRESPASSING.

UH, AND ULTIMATELY IT'S DIFFICULT FOR US TO ENFORCE OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC AND THIS SURGE THAT WE'RE SAYING, BUT WE NEED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT MASKING AND DISTANCING ARE VERY EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTION OF SPREADING DISEASE.

AND I ALSO WANT TO MENTION THIS MORNING, UH, THE, THE INFORMATION RELEASED BY JOHNSON AND JOHNSON REGARDING THEIR VACCINE CANDIDATE.

UM, SO THEY HAD AN ENLARGED TRIAL WITH MORE THAN 43,000 INDIVIDUALS, UH, AND THAT SHOWED, UH, YOU KNOW, REALLY GOOD EFFICACY.

IT'S NOT QUITE TO THE LEVELS THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE SHORT TERM WITH THE MADONNA AND PFIZER, BUT IN THE U S ARM OF THAT TRIAL, 72% EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING MODERATE TO SEVERE DISEASE.

UH, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE PREVENTION OF SEVERE DISEASE ALONE AT 28 DAYS PAST THE FIRST DOSE, IT'S 85%.

WHEN WE GO OUT TO 49 DAYS AFTER THAT DOSE, IT'S A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING HOSPITALIZATIONS IN SEVERE DISEASE.

UH, SO IN TERMS OF VACCINES, UH, IT IS A, IS A WINNER AND THERE ARE LOTS OF BENEFITS TO THIS VACCINE IN TERMS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE.

UH, PRIMARILY IT'S A SINGLE DOSE, UH, WHICH MAKES IT A LOT EASIER TO GET PEOPLE EFFECTIVE BEING VACCINATED, AND IT ONLY REQUIRES REFRIGERATION.

SO IT MAKES IT EASIER TO GET OUT TO, UH, TO AREAS WHERE WE NORMALLY WOULD VACCINATE, UH, FOR THINGS LIKE THE FLU SHOT.

SO WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO, UH, TO HEAR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON TRIAL, AS IT SUBMITS ITS UH, EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION REQUEST TO THE FDA.

AND WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT THIS VACCINE IS APPROVED WITH THAT.

I'LL TRANSITION OVER TO JANET FOR CHEF.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

UM, AS BOTH DR S SCOTT AND DIRECTOR, HAYDEN HOWARD HAVE, UH, MENTIONED, WE DO HAVE VACCINE ROLLING OUT INTO OUR COMMUNITY, WHICH HAS BEEN A VERY HOPEFUL SIGN FOR OUR COMMUNITY IN GENERAL.

AND, UH, WE RECOGNIZE THAT BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING DEMAND FOR THAT, THAT VACCINE.

HOWEVER, WE DO WANT TO REMIND PEOPLE THAT, UH, ONE WAY TO TRULY AVOID, UH, THE TRANSMISSION

[00:05:01]

OF DISEASE IS TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING YOUR MASK AS BOTH HAVE SAID, UH, WEARING YOUR MASK, UH, AVOIDING SOCIAL GATHERINGS AND REALLY LIMITING YOUR ACTIVITIES TO THOSE THAT ARE ONLY ESSENTIAL, UH, OUR, WHAT WE NEED TO DO, IF YOU CAN, UM, ELIMINATE, ELIMINATE SOCIAL GATHERINGS.

WE SEE, WE CONTINUE TO SEE, UH, CLUSTERS OF CASES, UH, ASSOCIATED WITH SOCIAL GATHERINGS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES SUCH AS EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN SCHOOL SETTINGS.

UM, AND YOU KNOW, WE REALLY WANT TO SEE OUR NUMBERS.

OUR NUMBERS HAVE REMAINED FAIRLY STEADILY OVER THE LAST WEEK OR SO.

HOWEVER, THOSE NUMBERS ARE STILL AS HIGH AS WE HAD AT THE PEAK IN JULY.

AND SO WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT DOWNWARD TREND, UH, BEGIN TO OCCUR.

AND, AND THE ONLY WAY UNTIL WE GET VACCINE FULLY ON BOARD IS TO MAKE THAT YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO REDUCE THAT DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK IN THE COMMUNITY.

AND THAT MEANS CONTINUING TO WEAR YOUR MASK.

UM, I THINK DR.

FOWCHEE HAD SOME, UH, UM, MESSAGES ABOUT WEARING DOUBLE MASKS AND THINGS AT THIS TIME.

UH, BUT WE, YOU KNOW, WEARING YOUR MASK, AVOIDING SOCIAL GATHERINGS, MAKING SURE THAT YOU'RE DOING SOCIAL DISTANCING, STAYING HOME, IF YOU'RE SICK, IF WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF COLD AND FLU SEASON.

AND SO THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO MISTAKENLY CONSIDER THEIR ALLERGIES AS COVID-19, BUT IF YOU'RE SICK, STAY HOME, UH, AND, AND ISOLATE YOURSELF FROM OTHERS SO THAT YOU'RE NOT, UH, PREVENTING SPREAD OF ILLNESS.

THANK YOU, JANET NOW TO OUR POOL REPORTER ALEX CAPRI YELLOW FROM K X, A N ALEX, FIRST OFF, THANK YOU TO EACH OF YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME TODAY ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS.

OUR FIRST QUESTION COMES FROM KX.

A N AS LOCAL HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE BEGINNING TO DECREASE.

THE DASHBOARD SHOWS THAT THERE ARE 47 PEOPLE AT THE ALTERNATE CARE SITE.

WHO ARE THESE PATIENTS, HAVE YOU BEGUN TAKING IN PATIENTS FROM OUTSIDE OUR AREA? HOW DOES THAT PROCESS WORK? I'M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT QUESTION.

UH, YES, WE'VE HAVE 47 IN THE ALTERNATE CARE SITE AS OF YESTERDAY, BUT TODAY WE'LL REPORT THAT'S UP TO 49.

UH, THESE ARE INDIVIDUALS WHO'VE BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM HOSPITALS WITHIN THE, UH, THE FIVE COUNTY MSA AROUND AUSTIN.

NOW WE HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO TAKE PATIENTS FROM OUTSIDE THAT AREA.

UH, SOME OF THOSE PATIENTS, UH, MAY HAVE LIVED IN OTHER AREAS AND, AND SOUGHT CARE IN AUSTIN INITIALLY.

UH, BUT CERTAINLY NO DIRECT TRANSFERS FROM HOSPITALS OUTSIDE THE, THE MSA SO FAR.

UH, SO AGAIN, WE'RE, WE'RE PLEASED THAT THAT ALTERNATE CARE SITE IS THERE.

WE'RE HAPPY WITH THE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, UH, WHO HAS PROVIDED STAFFING FOR THAT SIGN ALONG WITH OUR, UH, OUR LOCAL ENTITIES.

AND, UH, WE'VE HAD AN EFFICIENT REFERRAL PROCESS AND OUR HOSPITAL PARTNERS ARE SENDING PATIENTS THERE THAT ARE APPROPRIATE AND HAVE BEEN VERY PLEASED WITH THE CARE THAT'S BEING GIVEN AT THE ALTERNATE CARE SITE.

AS YOU MAY BE AWARE ALSO OUR, UH, HOSPITALIZATION PERCENTAGE IS DROPPING AND WE WERE THE LAST, UH, JURISDICTION METROPOLITAN JURISDICTION TO ENTER INTO, UH, THAT OVER 15% MARK, WHICH TRIGGERED GA 32 IN GA 31.

UH, AND WE WILL LIKELY BE THE FIRST ONE TO LEAVE THAT AS EARLY AS SATURDAY, AS FAR AS THE, UH, THE ROLLBACKS ARE ON, UH, OCCUPANCY OF BUILDINGS, AS WELL AS THE PROHIBITION AGAINST ELECTIVE PROCEDURES.

AGAIN, THAT'S GREAT FOR OUR COMMUNITY THOUGHT.

WE'D CONTINUE TO NEED THAT VIGILANCE IN TERMS OF PROTECTING OURSELVES AND CONTINUE THE MASKING A DISTANCE.

OUR NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM CBS AUSTIN.

WHEN PEOPLE PREREGISTER WITH APH FOR A VACCINE, ARE THEY PUT INTO A CUBE OR A WAIT-LIST OR IS IT BEST TO KEEP TRYING TO SCHEDULE A VACCINATION WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR THE VACCINE? UM, YOU ARE PUT ON A WAIT LIST.

AND SO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOU NOT TO KEEP GOING INTO THAT SYSTEM, TRYING TO SCHEDULE A VACCINE.

WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING IS WE'VE BEEN SENDING OUT EMAILS, UM, TO INDIVIDUALS TELLING THEM TO REGISTER.

NOW THE APPOINTMENTS ARE AVAILABLE.

AND SO WE WOULD RATHER FOLKS NOT CONTINUE TO GO INTO THAT SYSTEM,

[00:10:02]

UM, BECAUSE THERE WILL NOT BE APPOINTMENTS, UM, AVAILABLE, AND IT'S NOT LIKE SCHEDULING AN APPOINTMENT FOR A DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT.

WE ONLY PROVIDE AN APPOINTMENT WHEN WE HAVE A VACCINE TO GO ALONG WITH THAT APPOINTMENT.

OUR NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT IS APH STILL SEEING PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT REGISTERED FOR APPOINTMENTS SHOW UP AT VACCINATION SITES.

WE ARE NOT SEEING AS MANY PEOPLE, UM, TO SHOW UP AT OUR VACCINE SITES.

UM, WE ARE CONTINUING TO SEE THAT AND WE ARE, UM, GIVING THEM INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO REGISTER ON OUR SITES.

UM, THE OTHER THING IS JUST AS A CAUTION, UM, IS THAT, UM, WE HAVE A SPECIAL CODE THAT WE ARE PROVIDING INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE AN APPOINTMENT.

AND SO WE HAVE SEEN INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE TRIED TO COME THROUGH AND NOT HAVE THE, UM, PROPER PAY PREP, PROPER DOCUMENTATION.

AND SO WE ARE NOT PROVIDING VACCINES TO INDIVIDUALS THAT SHOW UP AT THOSE SITES WITHOUT APPOINTMENTS.

OUR NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM K O O P.

HOW ARE YOU SCHEDULING THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED A FIRST DOSE FOR THEIR SECOND DOSE? ARE THEY A PRIORITY ABOVE THOSE IN PHASE ONE, B WHO HAVE YET TO RECEIVE ANY VACCINE? IF YOU SOMEHOW GOT YOUR FIRST DOSE FROM APH, CAN YOU GET YOUR SECOND DOSE FROM ONE OF THE 350 OR MORE COMMERCIAL? AUSTIN? PUBLIC HEALTH HAS MADE A COMMITMENT THAT INDIVIDUALS THAT CAME THROUGH OUR VACCINE SITES, WE ARE GOING TO PROVIDE THEM THEIR SECOND DOSE OF VACCINE.

WE WILL COMMUNICATE WITH THEM AT THE METHOD THAT THEY HAVE, HAVE PUT ON THE DOCUMENTATION THAT THEY WANT TO RECEIVE BY EMAIL PHONE CALL OUR TANKS THAT WILL TYPICALLY HAPPEN THREE TO FIVE DAYS BEFORE IT IS TIME FOR THEM TO RECEIVE THEIR VACCINE.

WE WILL SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT FOR THEM TO COME IN TO RECEIVE THAT SECOND VACCINE.

NOW THERE'S TO ADD ONTO THAT IT'S IMPORTANT.

UNDERSTAND HOW THE VACCINE ALLOCATION WORKS IN, IN TEXAS.

UH, WHEN WE RECEIVE VACCINE IT'S DESIGNATED AS FIRST DOSE VACCINE OR SECOND DOSE VACCINE, AND THE STATES UPDATED THEIR WEBSITE RECENTLY TO REFLECT THE ALLOCATIONS BASED ON FIRST OR SECOND DOSE, A SECOND DOSE VACCINES ARE RESERVED FOR SECOND DOSE.

FIRST DOSE VACCINES ARE RE UH, RIVER, UH, RESERVED FOR FIRST DAY.

YES, OUR NEXT QUESTION FROM AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN.

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF TRAVIS COUNTY RESIDENTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN VACCINATED? WHEN DOES AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH EXPECT THE AREA'S ONE, B GROUP WILL BE FULLY VACCINATED? UH, I DON'T HAVE THE PERCENTAGE NUMBERS FOR YOU RIGHT NOW FOR THE OVERALL POPULATION.

UH, I'LL TELL YOU THAT JUST IN THE, BETWEEN THE ONE AGE GROUP AND THE ONE BIG GROUP WHO QUALIFY TODAY TO RECEIVE VACCINE, THERE'S ABOUT 550,000 PEOPLE IN THAT GROUP.

SO ALMOST HALF OF OUR POPULATION, UH, IT'S GOING TO TAKE MONTHS FOR US TO GET THROUGH THAT, THAT GROUP, EVEN WITH ADDITIONAL VACCINE, UH, FROM JOHNSON AND JOHNSON, UH, WE DON'T EXPECT IT'S GOING TO BE TILL SPRING UNTIL WE CAN GET THROUGH THAT ONE BIG GROUP.

NOW, THE STATE HAS GIVEN AN INDICATION THAT THEY WILL, UH, BE CREATING A ONE C GROUP, UH, WHICH IS LIKELY TO LOOK SIMILAR TO THE CDC ONE C GROUP, UH, IN IT'S POSSIBLE THAT WE WILL START A PARALLEL STRATEGY, UH, TO VACCINATE, UH, THE ONE-STATE GROUP, ALONG WITH THE, THE ONE BIG GROUP AS WELL.

OBVIOUSLY THERE COULD BE SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO FALL INTO BOTH THE ONE B AND THE ONE-SEAT GROUP, UH, WHICH LIKELY WON'T BE A PRIORITY FOR US.

OKAY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU, ARE THERE CONCERNS VACCINES MAY NOT BE AS EFFECTIVE AGAINST VARIANTS OF COVID-19 AND WHAT IS THE DOMINANT STRAIN OF COVID-19 IN CENTRAL TEXAS? UH, SO, YOU KNOW, UNFORTUNATELY THE US REALLY DOESN'T HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY, UH, FOR GENOMIC SURVEILLANCE.

SO MONITORING, UH, THE, THE VARIANTS OF THE VIRUS

[00:15:01]

NOW FOR COVID-19 OR FOR ANYTHING ELSE, UH, THERE IS IN THE PROCESS OF RAMPING THAT UP.

UH, BUT IT'S GOING TO TAKE TIME TO DO THAT.

SO WE DON'T HAVE A SPECIFIC INTELLIGENCE REGARDING THE STRAINS PREDOMINANT IN, UH, IN CENTRAL TEXAS.

WE ASSUME THAT IT IS RIGHT NOW, THE DOMINANT STRAIN IS, IS THE MAJOR STRAIN, THE INITIAL STRAIN OF COVID-19.

UH, BUT CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, AS WE SAW WITH THE, THE FIRST STRAIN OF COVID-19, WE EXPECT THAT IT WILL, THESE NEW VARIANTS WILL BE IN CIRCULATION AROUND THE WORLD, UH, VERY SHORTLY.

SO WE DO HAVE TO MONITOR THAT PART OF THE STRATEGY RIGHT NOW, UH, ON VACCINATION AND ON THE, YOU KNOW, THE, THE REINFORCEMENT OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NON-PHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS.

THEY, UH, THE MASKING, THE DISTANCING, THE HAND HYGIENE, THOSE ARE TO DECREASE TRANSMISSION BECAUSE IF WE DECREASE TRANSMISSION, WE DECREASE THE LIKELIHOOD OF GENERATING NEW VARIANTS.

UH, SO WE REALLY HAVE TO COME TOGETHER AND DRIVE DOWN TO THE DISEASE TO DECREASE THE RISK OF, UH, VARIATIONS HAPPENING, UH, WHAT WE'RE LIKELY TO SEE, BECAUSE THIS IS CIRCULATING AROUND THE WORLD, IS THAT WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO SEE MUTATIONS OF THE VIRUS.

UM, WE'RE GOING TO SAY, YOU KNOW, EFFECTIVE VACCINATION IN SOME AREAS, PRIMARILY IN THE UNITED STATES, EUROPE, UH, OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, UH, BUT YOU KNOW, IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE TO FESTER IN OTHER AREAS THAT ARE GOING TO HAVE LESS, UH, EFFECTIVE MEASURES.

AND THAT'S GOING TO LIKELY LEAD TO A SITUATION LIKE WE HAVE WITH THE FLU, WHERE WE IDENTIFY PREDOMINANT STRAINS THAT ARE CIRCULATING AROUND THE WORLD, AND WE GENERATE A BOOSTER SHOT, UH, THAT, UH, WILL PROBABLY BE WITH US FOR, FOR A LONG TIME.

ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO ADD IS, IS THAT WE KNOW THAT WEARING THE MASK, UM, WILL PROTECT US.

AND SO WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF WEARING YOUR MASK, WATCHING YOUR DISTANCE, UM, AND WASHING YOUR HANDS AND STAYING HOME IF YOU FEEL ILL.

SO THOSE KEY KEY STRATEGIES HAVE PROVEN TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE AS LONG AS WE ADHERE TO THEM.

AND I WILL ADD JUST, UH, WHAT WAS, WHAT IS KNOWN AS FAR AS LIKE THE VARIANTS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN TEXAS HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT HAD ANY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL.

SO WHAT THAT MEANS, AND WHAT THAT TELLS ME IS THAT IT'S HERE IN OUR LIKELY IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND AS BOTH DR.

S SCOTT AND DIRECTOR, HAYDEN HOWARD HAVE MENTIONED THESE NON-PHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS SUCH AS MASKING, SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE GOING TO BE IN LIMITING YOUR DISEASE.

TRANSMISSION RISKS ARE GOING TO BE ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO AVOID A TRANSMISSION OF THOSE DISEASES OR THOSE VARIANTS, UH, BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSIDERED TO BE MORE INFECTIOUS THAN NATURE.

SO, UH, PEOPLE STILL NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE VERY VIGILANT IN PREVENTION MEASURES.

OUR NEXT QUESTION FROM UNIVISION WILL THE OUTREACH TO THE COMMUNITY ABOUT VACCINES AND REGISTRATION BE IN SPANISH AS WELL.

AND HOW WILL YOU MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW UP WITH COMMUNITIES? SO THEY DON'T MISS THEIR SECOND DOSE? ALL OF OUR, UM, INFORMATION IS IN SPANISH.

UM, WE TYPICALLY, WHEN WE ARE IN DEVELOPING INFORMATION, UM, WE TYPICALLY ENSURE THAT OUR, UM, INFORMATION IS BILINGUAL.

SO WHEN, AS FAR AS FOLLOWING UP WITH THE INDIVIDUALS, UM, THE, THE OUTREACH TEAM, AS WELL AS, UM, OUR STAFF, OUR NURSING STAFF WILL DEFINITELY BE ABLE TO EITHER REACH OUT BY EMAIL OR PHONE CALL OR A TEXT MESSAGE TO LET FOLKS KNOW THREE TO FIVE DAYS BEFORE IT IS TIME FOR YOUR VACCINE.

AND AT THAT TIME, UM, IF WE'RE NOT ABLE TO REACH THEM, WE'LL WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH OUR, UM, GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS AND ASK THEM IF THESE ARE CLIENTS THAT THEY HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY COME IN FOR THAT SECOND VACCINE.

OKAY.

THAT IS THE END OF OUR FIRST ROUND OF QUESTIONS BACK AT THE TOP FROM KX A N IF YOU HAVE ONE VACCINE THAT IS ONLY

[00:20:01]

66% EFFECTIVE, OR AS DR.

ASCOT SET UP TO 72% OF MY MEMORY SERVES ME.

AND THEN THE TWO OTHER VACCINES THAT ARE 95% EFFECTIVE, ARE YOU WORRIED THAT MANY PEOPLE WON'T GET THAT LESS EFFECTIVE VACCINE AND WE'LL CHOOSE TO WAIT AND GET THE MORE EFFECTIVE VACCINE? UH, LOOK, I, I THINK THERE'S, I THINK PEOPLE ARE LIKELY TO GET THE VACCINE THAT'S AVAILABLE.

UH, YOU KNOW, THE VACCINE THAT AVAILABLE THAT IS AVAILABLE TODAY IS BETTER THAN THE VACCINE THAT MAY BE AVAILABLE A MONTH OR TWO MONTHS FROM NOW.

UH, THE 72% IS THE US ARM OF THAT TRIAL WAS 72% EFFECTIVE.

AND THE STORY DOESN'T STOP IT AT 28 DAYS.

THAT'S THE EFFICACY AT 28 DAYS AT 49 DAYS, IT'S A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING SEVERE DISEASE AND HOSPITALIZATION.

UM, SO AGAIN, THAT'S, THAT'S REALLY INCREDIBLE EFFICACY FROM A VACCINE, UH, YES, IN THE SHORT-TERM, IT MAY NOT BE QUITE AS, UH, AS GOOD PROTECTION AS THE MAJORITY IN PFIZER, BUT IF YOU'VE GOT TO WAIT A MONTH OR TWO MONTHS TO GET THAT, UM, THEN YOU KNOW, IT NEGATES OUT THE BENEFIT OF THAT, THAT SHORT TERM EFFICACY INCREASE.

UH, AND AGAIN, THE FACT THAT IT'S A SINGLE DOSE MAKES IT EASIER TO DISTRIBUTE.

IT MAKES IT, UH, YOU KNOW, LOGISTICALLY POSSIBLE FOR US TO GET IT OUT INTO SMALLER AREAS IN THE COMMUNITY.

UH, IT MAKES IT FEASIBLE FOR EVERY CLINIC, EVERY, UH, EVERY PHARMACY, EVERY DOCTOR'S OFFICE TO HAVE SUPPLIES SO THAT FOLKS CAN GO TO THEIR, THE PLACE THAT THEY NORMALLY GET THEIR VACS VACCINATIONS TO OBTAIN THIS.

SO IT IS AN EXCITING DEVELOPMENT.

AND AGAIN, WE WANT TO SEE A BIT MORE DETAIL IN THE, THE FDA'S EUA SUBMISSION.

UH, SO WE LOOK FORWARD TO LOOKING AT THAT AND, AND HAVING THAT BROKER DETAIL FROM CPS AUSTIN, I GOT MY FIRST VACCINE YESTERDAY AND WAS TOLD IT WOULD BE 50% EFFECTIVE IN ABOUT A WEEK.

IT WAS MADONNA.

CAN YOU SUM UP THE TIMELINE TOWARD FULL EFFECTIVENESS OF THE VACCINE I'M HAVING TO DO THAT? YOU KNOW, AGAIN, THEY, THE EFFICACY AT 50% FROM THE FIRST DOSE CONTINUES TO GET BETTER AS YOU GO ALONG.

ONCE YOU GET THE SECOND DOSE ABOUT A WEEK AFTER THAT TO TWO WEEKS AFTER THAT, THAT'S WHEN YOU HIT THE 95%.

AND AGAIN, IT CONTINUES TO INCREASE AFTER THAT, UH, BOTH THE MADEIRA AND THE PFIZER SHOWED SIMILAR RESULTS TO THE, UH, THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON DATA THAT, THAT HAS BEEN SENT OUT IN THAT IS ABOUT A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFICACY AT PREVENTING HOSPITALIZATIONS, UH, FOR THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED.

YOU KNOW, SO AGAIN, UM, WE, WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE, THE EFFICACY OF THESE VACCINES.

I'LL TELL YOU THAT, UH, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE THINK ABOUT A YEAR AGO, OR, YOU KNOW, NINE MONTHS AGO, WHEN WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT THESE VACCINES AND THE POSSIBILITIES, WE WERE GOING TO BE HAPPY WITH A VACCINE THAT WAS 60, 70% EFFECTIVE.

THE FACT THAT WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, THREE VACCINES NOW THAT ARE A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE AT, AT, UH, PREVENTING SEVERE DISEASE IS, IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE.

UH, SO I THINK WE SHOULD ALL BE VERY PLEASED WITH THAT INFORMATION.

OUR NEXT QUESTION FROM K O O P IS THERE A SIMPLE, NON DUPLICATIVE WAY TO REGISTER WITH ONE OR MORE OF THE 350 PLUS COMMERCIAL PARTNERS? IF NOT, WILL THERE BE ONE BEFORE MILLIONS OF PROMISE DOSES ARRIVE IN CENTRAL TEXAS? UNFORTUNATELY, THE ANSWER IS NO, UH, THERE'S NOT A WAY TO START UP AT MULTIPLE PLACES RIGHT NOW.

I WILL SAY THAT, UH, THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES HAS DONE A GREAT JOB OF REVAMPING THEIR WEBSITE AND THE, UM, THE UTILITY OF, OF THE MAPPING SYSTEM THAT THEY HAVE.

UH, NOW IT HAS DOTS FOR EACH OF THE PROVIDERS.

THE DOTS ARE RED.

IF THERE'S NO VACCINE AVAILABLE, THE DOTS ARE BLUE.

IF THERE'S VACCINES AVAILABLE AND THERE'S WHITE DOTS FOR, FOR THE HUB SITES IN EACH ONE OF THOSE, WHEN YOU HOVER OVER, IT HAS A LINK TO THE WEBSITE AND INFORMATION ON HOW TO SIGN UP.

SO CERTAINLY NOW THERE IS A PLACE THAT FOLKS CAN GO A SINGLE, UH, LOCATION, WHERE THEY CAN SEE, UH, ALL THOSE, ALL THAT INFORMATION REGARDING ALL THE SITES.

[00:25:01]

UM, AND YOU KNOW, OUR HOPE IS THAT FOLKS WILL MONITOR THAT SITE AND IDENTIFY PLACES WHERE THEY'RE ABLE TO GET BACK TO THEM FROM THE STATESMAN.

WHEN DOES AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH ANTICIPATE IT WILL LAUNCH IT'S UPDATED PRE-REGISTRATION WEBSITE WITH THE, WITH THE WEBSITE? UM, WE ARE ALWAYS, UM, MAKING CHANGES TO THE WEBSITE, UM, WHEN WE STOOD IT UP ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO, UM, BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM THE USERS, UM, WE TYPICALLY WILL MAKE THOSE UPDATES AND MAKE THOSE CHANGES.

SOME OF THOSE CHANGES ARE SEAMLESS, UM, TO THE USER, TO THE END USER.

UM, BUT IT JUST ALLOWS IT TO BE MORE, UM, EASIER, MORE USE ON THE E ON THE END USER.

UM, AND THEN THE OTHER, UM, JUST BIT OF INFORMATION IS, IS THAT WHAT WE DECIDED TO DO THIS LAST ROUND WITH UPDATES IS, IS THAT WE HAVE, UM, SENATE IN, OUT TO A CLOSED GROUP OF USERS JUST TO TEST IT, UM, JUST TO BE ABLE TO WORK OUT SOME OF THE BUGS WITHIN IT.

SO AS THE SS SYSTEM IS UPDATED, UM, FOLKS WILL GO IN AND THEY WILL NOTICE, UM, HOW THEY CAN EASILY ACCESS HOW THEY WILL, IF THEY WANT TO TEST, OR IF THEY WANT TO GET THEIR VACCINE, OR IF THEY NEED TEST RESULTS, OR IF THEY ARE LOOKING FOR THEIR SECOND VACCINE.

SO THEY WILL CLEARLY BE TO SEE WHERE TO CLICK ON FOR THAT INFORMATION FROM OUR STONE.

YEAH.

THERE IS AN AGE LIMIT FOR RECEIVING THE VACCINE.

HOW DO WE PROTECT YOUNGER POPULATIONS IF THEY MUST BE 16 OR OLDER IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A VACCINE? WELL, I'M HAPPY TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE'RE, WE'RE HAPPY THAT, THAT THE DATA THAT WE HAVE IN HAND RIGHT NOW IS THAT, UH, THIS DISEASE TENDS TO BE MILD IN YOUNG PEOPLE.

UM, SO WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME LEVEL OF, OF CONCERN AS WE DO WITH OLDER ADULTS.

UH, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE SEE NEW PRODUCTS COME OUT, NEW DRUGS, NEW VACCINES, THE GENERALLY DON'T INVOLVE, UH, PEDIATRIC PATIENTS IN THOSE STUDIES.

BECAUSE FIRST YOU WANT TO PROVE THAT IT'S SAFE AND EFFECTIVE IN OLDER AGE GROUPS.

THEN YOU DO THE CLINICAL TRIALS IN, IN YOUNGER AGE GROUPS.

SO INSPECTED, THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, UH, THAT THERE WILL BE TRIALS, UH, HAPPENING IN, IN THE PEDIATRIC POPULATION, WHICH SHOULD HELP INFORM OUR DECISION MAKING REGARDING, UH, THE, UH, THE UTILIZATION FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE.

AGAIN, THE FOCUS RIGHT NOW, THE FOCUS THROUGH MAY AND JUNE IS GOING TO BE GETTING THOSE WHO QUALIFY, UH, NOW TO GET, TO GET VACCINATED.

THOSE WHO ARE OLDER THAN 16 TO 18 YEARS OLD.

UH, AND, YOU KNOW, MY GUESS IS THAT AS THE SUMMER MONTHS APPROACH, AND WE HAVE MORE DATA ASSOCIATED WITH ITS SAFETY AND EFFICACY AND YOUNGER INDIVIDUALS, THEN WE WILL START THE PROCESS TO VACCINATE THAT THOSE GROUPS AND I'LL ADD, THERE ARE DEFINITELY NON-PHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS THAT WILL PROTECT THOSE WHO CANNOT GET VACCINATED.

AND I THINK WE'VE SAID IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN SINCE LAST JANUARY, AND THAT IS WEARING A MASK, UH, MAKING SURE THAT YOU FREQUENTLY WASH YOUR HANDS, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE, STAYING HOME, IF YOU'RE SICK AND SOCIALLY DISTANCING, YOU KNOW, AVOIDING CROWDS AND, AND CONFINED SPACES WHERE YOU MAY GATHER OF TIGHTLY AVOIDING SOCIAL GATHERINGS, UH, THAT MAY PLACE A PERSON AT INCREASED RISK FOR DISEASE TRANSMISSION.

THOSE DEFINITELY WORK.

SO UNTIL A VACCINE IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE GROUPS, UH, PEOPLE NEED TO BE MINDFUL THAT THOSE NON-PHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS ARE KNOWN WAYS TO PREVENT DISEASE TRANSMISSION.

OUR LAST QUESTION IS THE POSITIVITY RATE IN HIGH SCHOOLS AND MIDDLE STILL HIGHER THAN THE COMMUNITY.

WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR STUDENTS TO DO TO PREVENT TRANSMISSION OF VIRTUAL LEARNING IS NOT AN OPTION, UH, YES.

THAT THEY, THE DATA STILL SUPPORTS THAT, THAT THEY INFECTION RATES IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, UH, ARE HIGHER.

[00:30:01]

THE POSITIVITY RATES ARE HIGHER THAN THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY.

UH, AGAIN, THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE, THE NATURE OF THE INTERACTIONS OF, OF YOUNG PEOPLE.

UH, LOOKING AT THE MODELING DATA FROM, FROM EARLY ON IN THIS PANDEMIC, UH, IT WAS CLEAR THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE MORE FACE TO FACE INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE THAT OLDER ADULTS DO.

AND THAT'S WHAT IS THE PRIMARY METHOD OF SPREAD.

AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE, UH, WE'RE SEEING THAT SPREAD HAPPEN.

UH, BUT I WANT TO BE CLEAR, THE SPREAD IS NOT HAPPENING IN THE CLASSROOM SPACE.

THE SPREAD IS HAPPENING IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.

WE SEE CLUSTERS ASSOCIATED WITH SOCCER AND BASKETBALL AND OTHER ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES, DANCE CHEERLEADING.

UH, WE SEE IT ASSOCIATED WITH SOCIAL ACTIVITIES, KIDS WHO ARE HAVING PARTIES.

UH, WE SEE IT IN, IN SHARED TRANSPORTATION, CARPOOLS AND BUSES, UH, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT MASKED.

UH, IT'S, IT IS SIMPLY THE AMOUNT OF TIME PEOPLE ARE SPENDING FACE-TO-FACE WITHOUT MASKS ON THAT IS LINEAGE TRANSMISSION.

UH, SO THE BEST THING FOR OUR SCHOOLS TO DO IS TO SUSPEND THOSE EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES THAT SIGNIFICANTLY MODIFY, UH, THINGS LIKE CAFETERIA ACTIVITIES AND BUS TRANSPORTATION, TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN DECREASE THE RISK OF TRANSMISSION IN THOSE AGE GROUPS.

AND ULTIMATELY IT REALLY IS ALSO UP TO OUR PARENTS TO ENSURE THAT, UH, THEY'RE TALKING TO THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT HOW TO BE COVID SAFE AND HOW TO CONDUCT THEMSELVES IN A WAY THAT IS GOING TO PREVENT TRANSMISSION.

THANK YOU, SIR.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL TRANSITION TO OUR CLOSING REMARKS DIRECTOR, HAYDEN HOWARD.

THANK YOU.

UM, WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT, UM, OUR UTILIZATION, UM, PROVIDING VACCINE TO OUR COMMUNITY.

WE ARE CONTINUING TO PRIORITIZE, UH, INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE 65 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER.

OUR HOPE IS, IS THAT, UM, IF YOU ARE NOT 65 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER, THAT YOU WILL CONSIDER TO GIVE UP YOUR SPOT AND MINE ARE NOT SIGN UP FOR AN APPOINTMENT, BUT ALLOW THE FOLKS THAT ARE 65 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER TO HAVE THAT SPOT.

IN ADDITION TO THAT IN THE MEANTIME, VACCINE IS JUST ONE CRITICAL PART OF OUR FIGHT AGAINST COVID IN.

WE MUST CONTINUE AS A COMMUNITY, EVEN WITH THE VACCINE TO CONTINUE TO WEAR OUR MASK.

WE MUST WATCH OUR DISTANCE.

WE MUST WASH OUR HANDS AND STAY HOME IF YOU'RE NOT FEELING WELL AND MAKE ONLY ESSENTIAL TRIPS FROM YOUR HOME AT THIS TIME, I'LL TRANSITION OVER TO DR.

S SCOTT.

AGAIN, WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF A NEW VACCINE.

UH, THAT'S 85% EFFECTIVE AT 28 DAYS OF PREVENTING A SEVERE DISEASE, A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE AFTER 49 DAYS.

UH, BUT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE THE EFFORTS OF DECREASING TRANSMISSION THAT WE'VE SEEN OUR NUMBERS OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, OUR NUMBERS OF ADMISSIONS START TO DECLINE, UH, BUT THEY APPEARED LIKE THEY MAY BE STALLING OUT.

UH, THEY MAY NOT BE PUSHING DOWN FURTHER THAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE THOSE EFFORTS TO DECREASE TRANSMISSION.

AND THAT MEANS PROTECTING OURSELVES SO THAT WE CAN PROTECT OUR FAMILY AND WE CAN PROTECT THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY.

AND IN CLOSING, I'D JUST LIKE TO SAY, UM, AND WHILE HOSPITALIZATIONS MAY BE DECLINING SOMEWHAT OR FLATTENING OUT OUR CASE COUNTS FOR NEW CASES EACH DAY, UH, CONTINUE TO, UH, WE ON AVERAGE ARE SEEING OVER 600 CASES A DAY, WHICH IS HIGHER THAN WHAT WE SAW AT OUR INITIAL PEAK BACK IN JULY OF 2020.

SO THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BEGIN TO DRIVE THAT CURVE DOWN IS TO MAKE SURE, UH, WE ARE FOLLOWING THOSE PREVENTION ACTIVITIES THAT, UH, WE'VE ALL DISCUSSED, AND THAT'S MAKING SURE YOU WEAR YOUR MASK, MAKING SURE YOU ARE SOCIALLY DISTANT USING SOCIAL DISTANCING, MAKING SURE THAT YOU ARE AVOIDING GATHERINGS AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES THAT PLACE YOU OR YOUR FAMILY AT RISK, UH, LIMIT YOUR ACTIVITIES SO THAT YOU'RE ONLY DOING ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES.

I'D LIKE TO SEE THE NUMBER FALL, YOU KNOW, AS LOW AS IT CAN GO.

UM, BUT UNTIL WE CAN GET THE VACCINE FULLY ON BOARD AND IN OUR COMMUNITY, UM, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO MAKE, UH, AN EFFORT TO REDUCE OUR DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS.

[00:35:01]

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANKS TO APH DIRECTOR.

STEPHANIE HAYDEN HOWARD TALKED TO MARK S. SCOTT AND CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHETTE AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER ALEX CAPRI YELLOW FROM KX AM.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HAVE A SAFE DAY.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.