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[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:12]

GOOD MORNING.

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

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

SPANISH INTERPRETATION IS AVAILABLE ON ATX IN THREE TO START AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR.

STEPHANIE HADE WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY DR.

MARK S. SCOTT, INTERIM AUSTIN, TRAVIS JET AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST FOLLOWED BY CASSANDRA DAILYOM APH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION.

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

GOOD MORNING.

WE ARE SO EXCITED TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT SCHOOL SATURDAY STATE HEALTH SERVICES, UH, TO HAVE AN EMPHASIS WITH PROVIDING VACCINES TO PEOPLE THAT WORK IN SCHOOLS, SCHOOL STAFF, AS WELL AS, UM, CHILDCARE.

SO WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING SINCE JANUARY, WE HAVE BEEN PROVIDING, UM, ONE A AND ONE B ONE B SCHOOL STAFF THAT MEET THAT CRITERIA AS WELL AS CHILDCARE, UM, STAFF AS WELL.

AND SO WE'VE PROVIDED, UM, OVER 3,700 VACCINES THUS FAR.

AND SO WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO, BUT WITH THE SCHOOL SATURDAY, WE WILL HAVE AN EMPHASIS ON THAT DAY, SO WE CAN PROVIDE AS MANY VACCINES AS WE CAN TO THAT POPULATION.

MY HOPE IS IS THAT WITH OUR OTHER PARTNERS THAT ARE PROVIDING VACCINES, THAT THEY WILL ADOPT THAT AS WELL.

AND SO WE ARE EXCITED BECAUSE AS YOU ALL KNOW, EDUCATION IS DEFINITELY OUR PRIORITY.

I MUST ALSO SAY TO EVERYONE THAT WE MUST CONTINUE TO STAY THE COURSE, WE HAVE DONE A REALLY GOOD JOB AS A COMMUNITY, AND WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR POSITIVITY RATE, BUT WE ARE NOT THERE.

WE DON'T WANT TO GET COMPLACENT AND THINK THAT KOBE IS NO LONGER WITH US.

AND SO IT'S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US TO CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASK AND WASH YOUR HANDS AND WATCH YOUR DISTANCE.

AND IF YOU'RE NOT FEELING WELL, PLEASE CALL ME AND GO ONTO THE PORTAL, SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT AND TAKE A TEST, A COVID TEST.

AND IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS AND HAVE HAD AN EXPOSURE, PLEASE QUARANTINE, BECAUSE WE'VE GOT TO CONTINUE TO, TO STAY THE COURSE AT THIS POINT, I WILL TRANSITION OVER TO DR.

SCOTT, THANK YOU, STEPHANIE.

AND FIRST I WANT TO START BY RECOGNIZING THE PARTNERSHIP THAT WE HAVE WITH THE STATE OF TEXAS, WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, WITH THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES AND WITH THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, UH, THEY'VE BEEN EXTREMELY HELPFUL IN OUR EFFORTS TO BATTLE COVID-19 MOST RECENTLY, UH, WITH THEIR SUPPORT.

WE OPENED THE ALTERNATE CARE SIDE OF THE CONVENTION CENTER, THE REGIONAL INFUSION CENTER AS WELL, PROVIDE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY.

UH, BUT, BUT THE, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT AND EFFECTIVE POLICY THAT WE'VE SEEN TODAY IN THIS STATE WAS THE MASS MANDATE THAT WAS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNOR IN JULY.

SO I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT AND WHAT THE GOVERNOR SAID AND WHAT HE DIDN'T SAY.

THE GOVERNOR SAID, MASKING IS IMPORTANT.

THE GOVERNOR SAID DISTANCING, HAND-WASHING STAYING HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK IS IMPORTANT.

THE GOVERNOR SAID THAT IN HIS OPINION, TEXANS DON'T NEED A MANDATE BECAUSE THEY'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING.

WE ALL HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT WE ALL HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THE GOVERNOR IS ALIGNED ON THE MESSAGING.

AS FAR AS WHAT WE ALL MUST STILL DO TO FIGHT THIS DISEASE.

IT IS EFFECTIVELY A MORAL IMPERATIVE THAT PEOPLE WEAR MASKS.

THAT MEANS THAT IT IS CRITICAL THAT ALL OF US EMBRACE THAT WE TAKE IT ON AS A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY AS A CITIZEN, AS A RESIDENT OF TEXAS.

AND WE CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER TO FIGHT THIS DISEASE.

WE ARE FAR FROM OVER IN TERMS OF THE BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19.

WE HAVE A LOT MORE WORK TO DO, AND THAT MEANS WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO PROTECT ONE ANOTHER IN THE COMING MONTHS SO THAT WE CAN GET VACCINE OUT AND HOPEFULLY PUT IT INTO THIS DISEASE.

UH, SO AGAIN, AS

[00:05:01]

DIRECTOR HAYDEN HOWARD SAID, WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE.

WE HAVE TO MAINTAIN OUR VIGILANCE.

UH, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER THIS WEEK SHOULD NOT BE A SIGN THAT WE'VE BEEN VICTORIOUS OVER.

COVID-19, UH, IT'S NOT TIME FOR THE VICTORY LAP YET.

WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO.

AND I HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT AUSTIN AND CENTRAL TEXAS WILL STAY THE COURSE AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO BETTER THAN IN MOST OTHER CITIES IN TERMS OF, OF THAT BATTLE WITH THAT, I'LL TURN IT OVER TO JENNIFER SHEN.

GOOD MORNING.

UM, I JUST WANT TO ECHO WHAT, UH, WHAT DR.

S SCOTT AND AND DIRECTOR HAYDEN HOWARD HAD SAID UP TO THIS POINT IN THAT WE ARE STARTING TO SEE DECREASES IN THE NUMBER OF CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND IN ORDER FOR US TO MAINTAIN THAT LOW LEVEL OF CASES, I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT FOR, UH, OUR FELLOW TEXANS AND TEXANS TO CONTINUE TO, TO WEAR OUR MASKS AND, UH, YOU KNOW, CONTINUE TAKING THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT WE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING OVER THE LAST, UH, YEAR.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT ARE COMING UP IN OUR FUTURE.

ONE IS SPRING BREAK, THE OTHER BEING EASTER, UH, OTHER OPPORTUNE TIMES FOR PEOPLE TO GATHER AND, UM, HAVE FESTIVITIES.

AND SO WITH THOSE, UH, I THINK IT'S ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT THAT FOLKS DO BE MINDFUL THAT THERE ARE VARIANTS CIRCULATING.

IF YOU TRAVEL SOMEWHERE, YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO A VARIANT THAT WE DON'T HAVE HERE IN THE CENTRAL TEXAS AREA, OR IT COULD BE ONE THAT WE HAVE CIRCULATING HERE.

WE JUST DON'T KNOW ABOUT.

UM, SO IT'S ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO, IF YOU DO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME, THAT YOU ARE PROTECTING YOURSELF BY MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.

UM, AGAIN, WITH THE MASS MANDATE, UH, BEING LIFTED, UM, YOU KNOW, I PERSONALLY WILL CONTINUE TO WEAR MY MASK, UH, AND, UH, TO PROTECT THOSE IN MY HOUSEHOLD.

UM, AND I THINK IT'S, EVERYBODY'S INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE TAKING CARE OF THEIR FAMILY AND FAMILY MEMBERS.

SO IF YOU CHOOSE TO NOT WEAR A MASK, UH, YOU KNOW, WE ASK THAT YOU BE MINDFUL AND RESPECTFUL TO YOUR FELLOW TEXANS.

UH, YOU KNOW, I LIKE TO USE THE MOTTO WE WANT TO PROTECT, AND WE WANT TO BE IN AND RESPECT.

SO PROTECT AND RESPECT, MAKE SURE YOU ARE PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY, BUT IF YOU DON'T CHOOSE TO WEAR A MASK, BE RESPECTFUL TO THOSE THAT CONTINUE TO DO SO.

SO, OR IF YOU HAVE A RESTAURANT OWNER OR A STORE OWNER WHO WANTS TO IMPLEMENT A MASKING MAN MASKING TO COME INTO THEIR FACILITY, THAT YOUR SPECTACLE OF THEIR WISHES, UH, TO GET THAT SERVICE.

SO AGAIN, UH, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, UH, AND MAKING SURE THAT YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS.

AND WITH THAT ALTERNATE OVER TO CASSIE, GOOD MORNING, UM, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH HAS BEEN CONTINUING TO STAND UP AND EXPAND MASS VACCINE OPERATIONS.

AND OVER THE LAST EIGHT WEEKS IN WHICH THAT WE'VE BEEN PROVIDING, WE'VE BEEN A HUB PROVIDER.

WE HAVE PROVIDED OVER 100,000 VACCINES AND OF THOSE WE HAVE FULLY VACCINATED OVER 30,000 INDIVIDUALS.

THIS HAS BEEN POSSIBLE THROUGH A TREMENDOUS PARTNERSHIP THROUGH TREMENDOUS PARTNERSHIPS AND VOLUNTEERS, INCLUDING TRAVIS COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, PROVIDING RETIRED PHYSICIANS AND OTHER CLINICIANS TO BE ONSITE WITH THE CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE, PROVIDING FACILITIES AND VOLUNTEERS AND CITY OFFICIALS TO HELP SUPPORT THOSE OPERATIONS WITH AUSTIN FIRE DEPARTMENT, HELPING TO STAND UP OUR MASS VACCINE STRATEGY AND PROVIDING ONSITE VACCINATORS, AND JUST A LOT OF DIFFERENT RESOURCES.

THEY'VE PROVIDED TO THE SITES AS WELL AS CITY OF AUSTIN PARKS AND RECREATION, UH, PROVIDING LOCATIONS AND ADDITIONAL STAFF.

AND THEN A TREMENDOUS PARTNERSHIP HAS BEEN FOSTERED WITH AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, GIVING US ACCESS TO FACILITIES TO REALLY BE ABLE TO, UH, MEET THE DEMAND FOR MASS VACCINATION SITES.

AGAIN, WE ALSO HAVE HAD SUPPORT THROUGH TRAVIS COUNTY AND ALLOWING US TO WORK WITH THEIR CALL CENTER VOLUNTEERS AND THOSE STAFF THAT NORMALLY ARE MOBILIZED FOR, UM, UH, ELECTION OF, UH, VOLUNTEERING HAS, HAS MOBILIZED TO HELP US MEET THE CALLS DEMANDS THAT WE HAVE HAD.

AND THEN FINALLY, WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH LONG-TERM CARE PARTNERS, AS WELL AS THOSE THAT ARE SERVING OLDER ADULT POPULATIONS TO HELP MOBILE VACCINE OPERATIONS, TO GET OUT TO THOSE WHO ARE UNABLE TO GET TO VACCINE SITES SO THAT WE'RE ABLE TO GIVE THEM VACCINE IN A COMFORTABLE PLACE AND IN A SPACE THAT,

[00:10:01]

UM, IS MORE ACCOMMODATING FOR THEIR NEEDS.

AS WE LOOK AHEAD INTO NEXT WEEK, WE ARE ANTICIPATING HAVING ADDITIONAL VACCINE AND CONTINUING TO GET OUR ONGOING ALLOCATION OF MADONNA, BUT WE ALSO ANTICIPATE THAT WE'LL BE RECEIVING THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE.

AND SO WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARDS GETTING, UH, GETTING ACCESS TO A VACCINE, UM, AND, AND LOOKING TO, UH, KNOWING THAT WE'LL HAVE THESE DIFFERENT VACCINES THINKING THROUGH AND TALKING WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ABOUT WHICH VACCINE YOU'D LIKE TO RECEIVE.

AND AGAIN, WHEN IT BECOMES YOUR TURN TO GET A VACCINE, CONTINUE TO TRY TO GET ONE WITH THAT.

I'LL OPEN THIS UP FOR QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU.

AT THIS TIME, WE'LL TURN IT OVER TO OUR POOL REPORTER, HEATHER OSBORN, WHO REPRESENTS THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, HEATHER.

HI EVERYONE.

AND THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS FOR US TODAY.

THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN ON HEALTH LEADERS CONCERNED, GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT LIFTING THE MASK MANDATE WILL HINDER LOCAL VACCINATION DISTRIBUTION EFFORTS.

IF PEOPLE ESPECIALLY OLDER RESIDENTS START TO GET ILL WITH THE DISEASE AT HIGHER RATES, I'M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT ONE.

UH, W WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE NOT HEARING THE ENTIRETY OF THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.

UH, I'M CONCERNED THAT THE EMPHASIS WAS PLACED UPON OPENING A HUNDRED PERCENT AND LIFTING A MANDATE, NOT ON CONTINUING THE PROTECTIONS.

AND I'M GLAD TO SEE THE GOVERNOR, UH, OUT IMMEDIATELY THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS TO REALLY EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING IN THE COURSE.

UH, BUT AS WE'VE DISCUSSED BEFORE, WE HAVE THE SAME RESOURCES WHICH ARE UTILIZED, UH, FOR CARING PATIENTS FOR, UH, TESTING AND FOR VACCINATIONS.

SO IF WE HAVE TO TRANSITION MORE RESOURCES AND CARE FOR PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL, THAT TAKES AWAY RESOURCES FROM THE VACCINATION EFFORT.

UH, SO, YOU KNOW, THIS IS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE, AND AS WE'VE BEEN DISCUSSING FOR MONTHS NOW, A BIG ONE IS PERSONNEL.

SO WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT THAT PEOPLE WILL STAY THE COURSE AND, AND WE CAN KEEP DISEASE BURDEN DOWN HERE IN TRAVIS COUNTY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K X, A N K X A N GETS DOZENS OF CALLS AND EMAILS EVERY DAY FROM SENIORS WHO HAVE A HARD TIME SIGNING UP FOR THE VACCINE ONLINE AT THIS POINT, WOULDN'T IT BE MORE EFFECTIVE FOR ELA ELIGIBLE SENIORS TO SHOW UP WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT? UM, I'M HAPPY TO RESPOND.

UM, I THINK WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW IS TO, TO PROVIDE SOME INSIGHT INTO WHAT'S OCCURRING.

UM, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE TRYING TO ACCESS VACCINE, AND WE KNOW THAT THE WEBSITE IS DIFFICULT BECAUSE THE, UM, NUMBER OF PEOPLE TRYING TO ACCESS, UM, COMPLETELY OUTWEIGHS THE NUMBER OF VACCINE THAT WE HAVE AVAILABLE.

IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU WAIT TO GET AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE YOU COME TO THE, TO THE LOCATIONS, BECAUSE WE JUST DON'T HAVE CAPACITY ON THE GROUND TO, TO MANAGE LINES THAT, UM, UH, FOLKS THAT DO NOT HAVE APPOINTMENTS, UM, WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IS THOSE THAT, THAT COME, THEY STAND IN LINE AND THEY TALK TO US ABOUT THEIR, UH, THEIR ISSUES, UH, NOT BEING ABLE TO GET AN APPOINTMENT AND WE TRY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE ONSITE THERE, BUT WE'RE STILL UNABLE TO PROVIDE THEM A VACCINE BECAUSE ALL THE VACCINE HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED THROUGH THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS.

WHAT WE DO ENCOURAGE IS FOR THOSE SENIORS TO CONTINUE TO REACH OUT THROUGH THREE, ONE, ONE, UM, AND ALSO THROUGH OTHER, UH, STAKEHOLDERS, UH, THAT CAN HELP ASSIST THEM IN CONNECTING TO OUR CALL CENTER, UH, TO TRY TO ASSIST THEM IN, IN, UM, ACCESSING APPOINTMENTS, IF THEY'RE HAVING DIFFICULTY.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, OUR WEBSITE, UM, AND OUR, UM, FACEBOOK PAGE HAS BEEN A VERY GOOD RESOURCE FOR FOLKS WHO ARE HAVING A DIFFICULTY TO REACH IN AND CONNECT TO APH IF OTHER THEY HAVE HAD DIFFICULTY THROUGH OTHER MEANS.

SO AGAIN, I KNOW IT'S VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE WE HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE, UH, LOOKING TO GET VACCINE, UM, AND JUST HAVING SUCH A LIMITED SUPPLY.

UH, BUT WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK THROUGH THAT.

WE'RE CONTINUING TO REFINE OUR SYSTEMS TO HELP SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY ACCESSING, UM, AND JUST, WE ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO JUST TO CONTINUE TO WORK THROUGH THOSE SYSTEMS BEFORE THEY TRY TO COME OUT TO A SITE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN, THE J AND J VACCINE IS SHOWN TO HAVE A EFFICACY RATE THAN MEDINA AND PFIZER AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE IN THE AUSTIN AREA.

EXPLAIN WHY PEOPLE SHOULD FEEL GOOD ABOUT GETTING THE J AND

[00:15:01]

J VACCINE AS, AS ONE OF THE OTHER TWO.

UM, I'M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT ONE.

UH, IT'S IMPORTANT TO, TO HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE ON VACCINE EFFICACY.

SO LET'S TALK ABOUT FLU VACCINE EFFICACY.

UH, CDC HAS BEEN TRACKING EFFICACY SINCE 2003.

UH, THE LOWEST, UH, EFFICACY FOR THE FLU VACCINE HAS BEEN ABOUT 10%.

THE HIGHEST RECORDED HAS BEEN 60%.

UH, THE JOHNSON JOHNSON VACCINE IN THE U S ARM WAS MORE THAN 72% EFFECTIVE AND MORE THAN 85% EFFECTIVE AGAINST SEVERE DISEASE.

IT'S AN EXCELLENT VACCINE.

UH, AND IT WAS A VACCINE THAT I ANTICIPATE WILL BECOME MORE PROMINENT, UH, AS MARCHING IN APRIL, COME INTO PLAY.

UH, IT CAN BE MASS PRODUCED.

IT, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE IT'S A SINGLE DOSE, IT DOES ALLOW US TO VACCINATE A LOT MORE PEOPLE.

AND ONCE AGAIN, THE VACCINE THAT YOU CAN GET IS BETTER THAN THE VACCINE THAT YOU CAN'T GET, AND WE'RE GONNA, UH, CONTINUE TO FACE LIMITED SUPPLIES OF THE PFIZER AND MADONNA, UH, VACCINE GOING FORWARD.

I THINK IN PARTICULAR FOR THOSE WHO ARE AT LOWER RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE.

SO PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE ONE B THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON MAKES A LOT OF SENSE.

IT'S VERY EFFECTIVE.

IT'S A ONE DOSE AND YOU'RE DONE.

AND, UH, I THINK IT'S, IT'S GOING TO BE A GAME CHANGER FOR US IN, IN CONTROLLING.

COVID-19.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM OSTEOPENIA, WHEN APH HAS VACCINE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE, WHAT CRITERIA DOES THE DEPARTMENT USE TO DECIDE WHICH ELIGIBLE MEMBERS OF THE WAIT LIST TO OPEN THEM UP TO? SO, UM, I'LL RESPOND.

WE, UM, LOOK TO WHAT ARE ONE A AND ONE B POPULATION THAT'S CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE SITE.

AND THEN WE LOOK TO OUR DATA TO DETERMINE WHAT, UM, WHAT POPULATIONS ARE AT MOST RISK OF SEVERE DISEASE AND DEATH.

AND THOSE ARE ONES THAT ARE PRIORITIZED FOR APPOINTMENTS.

UM, OFTENTIMES THAT'S INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE, UM, OLDER IN AGE, UM, HAVE COMB-OVER COMORBID CONDITIONS, MEANING THEY, UM, HAVE EITHER DIABETES, UM, HEART DISEASE, UM, DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONDITIONS THAT MAKE THEM HIGHER RISK.

AND ALSO, UH, THOSE THAT MAY BE, UM, A POPULATION THAT IS EXPERIENCING A CERTAIN, UH, HIGHER DISPARITY OF COVID-19, UM, HIGHER DISEASE RATES AND SUFFERING FROM HIGHER, UM, HIGHER, UH, CASES OF SEVERE DISEASE, UH, SUCH AS SOME OF OUR POPULATIONS OF COLOR.

SO THOSE ARE THE THINGS WE REALLY TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN WE OPEN UP APPOINTMENT SO THAT WE CAN ENSURE THAT THOSE INDIVIDUALS ARE PRIORITIZED, UM, AND HAVE ACCESS, UH, WHEN THE QUEUING OCCURS OR THE, OR THE SCHEDULING PROCESS.

I ALSO WANT TO MENTION THAT, YOU KNOW, AS, AS WE TRANSITION TO A TIME WHEN WE HAVE, UH, MORE PEOPLE ABLE TO GET THE VACCINE, WE'VE GOT TEACHERS, SCHOOL STAFF AND CHILDCARE WORKERS THAT WERE RECENTLY ADDED, WE ANTICIPATE IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO, UH, THAT AN, A ONE C CATEGORY A, WHICH IS ESSENTIAL WORKERS WILL BE ADDED AS WELL.

UH, SO WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MODIFY STRATEGIES TO ACCOMMODATE ADDITIONAL PEOPLE IN THE HUGHES.

UH, AND WE'RE STILL WORKING OUT THE PROCESS FOR THAT TO ENSURE THAT, UH, WE HAVE PARALLEL STRATEGIES IN ORDER TO, UH, TO GET MORE FOLKS VACCINATED IN DIFFERENT, UH, IN DIFFERENT RISK AREAS.

AGAIN, THE INITIAL FOCUS WAS, UH, ON INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE AT THE HIGHEST RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE.

AND THE MODELING SUGGESTED THAT DECREASES OVERALL MORTALITY BY ONE TO 4%.

BUT NOW THAT DISEASE TRANSMISSION HAS DECREASED OUR STRATEGY NEEDS TO SHIFT AS WELL.

UH, NOW WE NEED TO THINK MORE ABOUT INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE AT HIGHER RISK FOR SPREADING DISEASE, SO THAT THE DISEASE BURDEN DOES NOT INCREASE.

UH, SO WE CAN EXPECT THAT OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOME MODIFICATIONS, UH, PARTICULARLY ONCE WE, UH, RECEIVE FROM THE STATE THAT ONE C CATEGORIZATION, THE NEXT QUESTION, EXCUSE ME.

SORRY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K O O P RADIO LATE LAST YEAR, THERE ARE MANY STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT FULL FUNDING EXPECTATIONS OR APH IN 2021 ARE THE APH CITY OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY CORONAVIRUS EFFORTS FULLY FUNDED FOR 2021.

[00:20:03]

THEY, UM, DOES THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT FUNDING, UM, IS ACTUALLY APPROVED ANNUALLY BY THE CITY COUNCIL.

UM, AND IT ALSO APPROVES THE ENTIRE CITY OF AUSTIN BUDGET.

UM, SO TYPICALLY WHEN WE ARE WORKING ON THESE TYPE OF RESPONSES, UM, WE DO RECEIVE, UH, STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, UM, IF THERE, YOU KNOW, ANY AREAS WHERE WE HAVE A CONCERN, WE DEFINITELY WILL ELEVATE THAT, UM, THROUGH THE CITY MANAGEMENT OFFICE, AS WELL AS THE BUDGET OFFICE.

AND SO AT THIS TIME, UM, WE ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH OUR FUNDING.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN, WHAT KIND OF CONCERN IS THERE ABOUT SOME BARS NOT REQUIRING MASKS NEXT WEEK? I'M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT ONE.

UH, LOOK, I, I THINK IT'S RECKLESS OR BARS TO BE OPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE, UH, PARTICULARLY NOW IN, UH, WE'VE GOT INCREASING CONCERN ABOUT VARIANCE.

UH, WE ALSO HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO FREQUENT BARS ARE THE SAME GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE CLOSE TO ZERO VACCINATION.

UM, SO PRIMARILY WE'VE BEEN FOCUSED ON OLDER INDIVIDUALS, UH, 65 PLUS.

SO WE CAN EXPECT THAT INDIVIDUALS IN THEIR TWENTIES AND THIRTIES HAVE VERY LOW RATES OF VACCINATION.

UH, SO WE CAN EXPECT IF BARS OPENED 100% AND THEY DON'T REQUIRE MASS THAT WE'LL SEE A RAPID AND EFFICIENT TRANSMISSION IN THOSE AGE GROUPS, UH, CERTAINLY ANTICIPATE, UH, IF THAT DOES HAPPEN, THAT, THAT WE'LL START TO SEE, UH, SOME FLATTENING, UH, AND THEN AN INCREASE IN CASES IN HOSPITALIZATIONS, UH, LATER IN MARCH, UH, AND FURTHER INCREASES, UH, FROM THERE.

UH, THE PATTERN THAT WE'VE SEEN IN THE PAST IS AFTER THESE EVENTS AFTER HOLIDAYS, WE SEE THE NUMBERS INCREASE IN YOUNGER PEOPLE, TWENTIES AND THIRTIES, AND THEN IN SUBSEQUENT RATES, WE SEE IT SPREAD OUT TO THE OLDER INDIVIDUALS.

UH, SO WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT, ABOUT BUSINESSES OPENING TO A HUNDRED PERCENT EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT BARS OPENING TO 100%.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT WITH MORE RESIDENTS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE ONLINE PORTALS ABILITY TO HANDLE INCREASED DEMAND? ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO FURTHER FOR, EXCUSE ME, FOR FURTHER TECHNOLOGICAL UPGRADES IN THE NEAR FUTURE, I'M GOING TO S I'M GOING TO START THIS ONE AND SAY THAT I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST FAILURES OF, OF PUBLIC HEALTH ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN ITS INVESTMENT IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.

UH, WE HAVE STRUGGLED FOR A YEAR NOW, UH, WITH THAT IT INFRASTRUCTURE, UH, YOU KNOW, WE'RE, WE'RE STILL WORKING FROM FAX MACHINES TO A LESSER EXTENT NOW, BUT STILL WORKING FROM FAX MACHINES TO RECEIVE SOME CASES.

UH, WE HAVE SYSTEMS THAT DON'T TALK TO ONE ANOTHER.

UH, AND I THINK THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS LEARNED IS THAT AS A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AS A STATE GOVERNMENT, AS A LOCAL GOVERNMENT, WE NEED TO LOOK HARDER AT, UH, REVOLUTIONIZING OUR PUBLIC HEALTH IT INFRASTRUCTURE.

UH, I'LL TURN IT OVER ALEX TO TALK ABOUT THE QUESTION IN PARTICULAR.

SO I'LL RESPOND AS WELL.

WE, UM, I'M SITE EVERY DAY AT OUR VACCINE SITES, AND I SEE THE ENGLISH THAT PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING, UM, THOSE THAT HAVE APPOINTMENTS, THE, THEY SHARE THEIR STORIES, UM, AND THEY ALSO SHARE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT.

WE'VE GOT A LOT OF FOLKS THAT ARE GETTING INTO VACCINE.

UH, SOME OF THEM ARE RETIRED.

UM, PROGRAMMERS HAVE WORKED IN, UM, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THEY HAVE GREAT IDEAS AND WE SHARE THOSE UP TO OUR IT MANAGEMENT, UH, SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO IMPROVE, UM, NOTING THAT THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN, UH, CLUNKY, UM, AND IT DOESN'T WORK FOR EVERYONE.

AND TO MIRROR WHAT DR.

SCOTT IS SAYING IS THAT IT'S, IT'S, UH, NOT NECESSARILY EQUIPPED TO STAND UP IN THE, IN THE RAPID RATE IN WHICH WE HAD TO STAND UP, AND IT'S NOT NECESSARILY EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE MASS VOLUME THAT ARE COMING IN, BUT IT'S EVOLVING.

UH, WE'VE HAD SOME IMPROVEMENTS AND WE ARE CONTINUING TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SYSTEM.

UH, WE ALSO ANTICIPATE WHEN, UM, WE REACH A CERTAIN, A CERTAIN EXTENT OF, UM, MEETING THE DEMAND AND SUPPLY INCREASES.

WE'LL HAVE, UH, SOME OF THOSE ISSUES

[00:25:01]

WILL ALSO LESSEN AS FAR AS, UH, BEING ABLE TO NAVIGATE, UH, WE SAW THIS WITH THE TESTING PROCESS, OR IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO GET A TESTING APPOINTMENT, UM, AND AS, UH, DEMAND WINDLED, UH, THE SYSTEM COULD HANDLE, UH, THE TESTING, UH, DEMAND THAT WE HAVE FROM THE COMMUNITY.

SO IT, IT, IT IS A, IT IS AN EVER EVOLVING, UH, SYSTEM.

UM, WE ARE TAKING RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPROVING THE SITE.

UM, THOSE END USER STORIES ARE REALLY CRITICAL AND IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT'S HOW WE ARE IMPROVING.

THAT'S PART OF THE QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROCESS THAT WE'RE UTILIZING.

UM, AND THERE ARE MANY, MANY PEOPLE INVOLVED IN TRYING TO, UM, IMPROVE AND ASSIST THIS PROCESS.

SO, UM, WE UNDERSTAND THE CONCERNS AND THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT THE PUBLIC IS EXPERIENCING WITH THE SITE, UM, THAT WE ALSO ARE TRYING TO PROVIDE RESOURCES TO ALLEVIATE THOSE ISSUES.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K U T.

NOW THAT EDUCATORS AND SCHOOL STAFF, OR ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE UNDER STATE GUIDELINES, DOES APH HAVE A PLAN TO PARTNER WITH SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO HELP GET THOSE FOLKS VACCINATED? IS THERE A SIMILAR PLAN FOR CHILDCARE PROVIDERS? UM, YES.

UM, WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR SCHOOL SATURDAY INITIATIVE.

UM, WE STARTED IN JANUARY TO PROVIDE, UM, VACCINES TO, UM, UH, SCHOOL STAFF, UM, THAT FIT INTO THE ONE A AND Y ONE B CRITERIA.

UM, AND THEN THE PAST WE DID DO A SATURDAY THAT WAS DEDICATED TO, UM, SCHOOL AT THE TIME.

WE, UM, OUR PLAN IS, IS TO ROLL OUT THE SCHOOL SATURDAYS EFFECTIVE THIS SATURDAY, WHERE WE WILL BE WORKING WITH, UM, SCHOOL STAFF AS WELL AS CHILDCARE PROVIDERS.

AND, UM, OUR GOAL IS, IS TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE AS MANY VACCINES AS WE CAN ALMOST SATURDAYS.

UM, TO FOLKS, WE HAVE ALREADY STARTED THAT PROCESS BY LOOKING AT THE FOLKS THAT ARE, HAVE ALREADY SIGNED UP ON OUR SYSTEM.

UH, WE HAVE OVER 10,000 FOLKS THAT HAVE ALREADY SIGNED UP ON OUR PLATFORM.

UM, AND SO WE'LL BE WORKING WITH THEM.

WE ALSO HAVE A SCHOOL'S TEAM THAT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED DURING, OUT, THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS.

AND SO THEY WILL BE REACHING OUT TO THEIR CONTEXTS IN SCHOOLS, UM, TO ALERT THEM ABOUT THE, UM, THE, THE SCHOOL SATURDAY, UM, IN ORDER FOR US TO BE ABLE TO REACH FOLKS THAT MAY EVEN NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET, ET CETERA.

SO OUR GOAL IS, IS THAT WORKING COLLABORATIVELY WITH, WITH ALL OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, SO, AND THE CHILDCARE PROVIDERS, SO WE CAN PROVIDE THE VACCINE.

NO, I'LL ADD ON TO THAT.

YOU KNOW, WE'RE, WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT THAT OTHER VACCINE PROVIDERS WILL JOIN US, UH, ON THIS SCHOOL SATURDAY, UH, YOU KNOW, HEB, UH, CVS, WALGREENS, UH, OTHER PARTNERS, UH, TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN GET OUR EDUCATORS, OUR SCHOOLS, STAFF, OUR CHILDCARE STAFF VACCINATED SOON, UH, PRESIDENT BIDEN ASKS THAT THAT EVERY ONE OF THEM RECEIVE A VACCINE, AT LEAST ONE DOSE BY THE END OF THIS MONTH.

UH, WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT, THAT WE CAN GET THAT DONE, BUT APH CAN'T DO IT ALONE.

UH, AND, UH, THAT PARTNERSHIP WILL BE HELPFUL TO GET US THERE AGAIN, UH, OUR, OUR CHILDREN, MY CHILDREN, I HAVE BEEN CHALLENGED BY THIS SCHOOL YEAR, WHICH HAS BEEN UNLIKE ANY OTHER THAT THEY'VE EXPERIENCED OR THAT WE'VE EXPERIENCED AND THE BETTER WE CAN PROTECT SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE STAFF.

UH, THE MORE LIKELY IT IS THAT, THAT WE CAN START TO RETURN SCHOOLS TO NORMAL.

UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T THINK THAT WILL BE THIS SEMESTER, BUT, UH, IT GIVES US GREAT HOPE THAT, UH, THINGS LIKE SUMMER SCHOOL AND, UH, IN THE FALL SEMESTER CAN BE MORE NORMAL IF WE CAN GET THAT TAKEN CARE OF.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THE WAIT LIST FOR A VACCINE IN TRAVIS COUNTY? UM, IN OUR SYSTEM, WE HAVE, UM, 218,000 PEOPLE THAT ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THE VACCINE.

UM, KEEP IN MIND WE ARE HUB.

SO THAT, THAT IS NOT JUST TRAVIS COUNTY, BUT OF THAT 141,000 ARE TRAVIS COUNTY RESIDENTS.

SO THAT DOES, UM, START TO INCLUDE, YOU KNOW, ONE, A ONE B UM, SCHOOL STAFF,

[00:30:01]

AS WELL AS CHILDCARE PROVIDERS.

OKAY.

WE'RE BEGINNING OUR SECOND ROUND OF QUESTIONS.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, DOES IT APPEAR THE MAJORITY OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY BUSINESS OWNERS WILL KEEP MASS REQUIREMENTS IN PLACE, EVEN THOUGH GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT LIFTED THE MANDATE, WHAT CAN WORKERS DO, OR WHO CAN WORKERS TURN TO IF BOSSES WON'T MANDATE MASKS IN THE WORKPLACE? AGAIN, I, UH, I'LL TAKE THIS ONE.

I, I FEEL LIKE OUR BUSINESS OWNERS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF MASKING.

THEY UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF DISTANCING.

I I'M HOPEFUL THAT OUR BUSINESS OWNERS WILL CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN THE PRECAUTIONS.

UH, WE HAVE A VERY WELL THOUGHT OUT AND DEVELOPED STAGE BASED APPROACH RISK-BASED APPROACH EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACH, UH, TO THESE PARTICULAR ISSUES, A MODEL WHICH HAS BEEN CHAIRED BY THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES, BECAUSE IT GIVES A WAY FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO TO THINK ABOUT STAGES OF RISK TODAY, WE'RE STILL IN STAGE FOUR, BUT TODAY WE'RE RECOMMENDING THAT BUSINESSES ONLY OPENED TO 50%.

AND I THINK OUR BUSINESSES UNDERSTAND BY NOW THAT IF PEOPLE DON'T FEEL SAFE IN THE SPACE, THEY WILL NOT COME.

UH, SO I THINK THAT BUSINESS OWNERS WHO CHOOSE TO NOT REQUIRE MASKS ARE GOING TO QUICKLY FIND OUT THAT PEOPLE AREN'T GONNA WANT TO GO THERE.

UH, I THINK WE HAVE A COMMUNITY THAT HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN THIS FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19.

I THINK THEY FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY, UH, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE PROTECTING THIS COMMUNITY.

AND MY HOPE IS THAT THOSE BUSINESS OWNERS, UH, WILL CHOOSE TO REQUIRE A MASK.

AND THAT FOLKS WHO DON'T HAVE A MASK ON WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE.

UM, I KNOW THAT I'M NOT GOING TO BE GOING INTO BUSINESSES THAT THAT DON'T REQUIRE, UH, FOR EMPLOYEES.

UH, AGAIN, MY HOPE IS THAT, UH, EMPLOYEES WHO ARE WORKING FOR BUSINESSES THAT DON'T REQUIRE HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH THEIR MANAGER, WITH THE, WITH THE OWNER, UH, AND TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT FOR PROTECTING OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS.

WE KNOW THAT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS HAVE BEEN DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED BY COVID-19 BECAUSE OF THE FREQUENCY OF FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS AND THAT CUSTOMER SERVICE ROLE, UH, THEY ARE VULNERABLE.

THEY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINES TODAY.

THAT MEANS THAT HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY, BUSINESSES HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THEIR WORKERS.

AND THAT MEANS REQUIRING MASKS IN THEIR BUSINESS.

AGAIN, JUST WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT, YOU KNOW, FOR THOSE EMPLOYEES, THAT MAY BE JUST LIKE DR.

S SCOTT SAID, CONTINUING TO GO INTO WORK.

IT IS YOUR OWN PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK.

IF YOU FEEL, UH, YOU WANT TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR COWORKERS, UM, YOU KNOW, AND CUSTOMERS THAT MIGHT BE COMING IN.

SO, UH, SHOULD A MASS MANDATE NOT BE REQUIRED.

UH, YOU HAVE THE, UM, ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASK, TO CONTINUE TO PROTECT.

AND AGAIN, UH, FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO FREQUENT ESTABLISHMENTS AND RETAIL MARKETS, IF, UH, IF THEY ARE RESPECTFUL TO THOSE WHO WANT TO CONTINUE TO WEAR MASKS, WE'VE HEARD MANY, MANY STORIES, UH, OVER THE YEAR ABOUT, UH, PEOPLE, UH, NOT BECOMING CONFRONTATIONAL, UH, TO STORE CLERKS AND, UM, MAY HAVE STORE MANAGERS AND RESTAURANT WORKERS AND THINGS, UH, YOU KNOW, AS FAR AS, UH, WHEN THEY WOULD HAVE ASKED AND REQUIRED THAT MASKS BE WORN, UM, YOU KNOW, WE, WE WANT PEOPLE TO AGAIN, BE RESPECTFUL THAT THIS IS THEIR BUSINESS, AND THEY WANT TO PROTECT IT THAT WAY, UH, FOR YOU TO BE MINDFUL OF THAT AS WELL.

SO AGAIN, RESPECT AND PROTECT.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K X A N WE CONTINUE TO SEE PHOTOS CIRCULATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT QUALIFIED UNDER THE CURRENT GUIDELINES TO GET A VACCINE YET THERE, THEY ARE STILL ABLE TO GET ONE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO STOP THIS SINCE IT IS FRUSTRATING FOR THOSE WAITING THEIR TURN? I CAN JUST SAY THAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S ONE OF THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CANNOT NECESSARILY JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.

UH, WE ARE STILL SERVING OUR ONE, A PRIORITY GROUPS WHO ARE HEALTHCARE WORKERS, WHO MAY BE,

[00:35:01]

UH, INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE YOUNG AND HEALTHY, BUT THEY ARE PROVIDING, UH, DIRECT PATIENT CARE TO POPULATIONS.

AND, UM, UH, ARE, YOU KNOW, AT RISK, OR WE DON'T OFTEN KNOW IF SOMEBODY, UH, HAS AN UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BE PLACED IN THERE.

THEY MAY LOOK PERFECTLY HEALTHY FROM THE OUTSIDE, BUT THERE MAY BE SOMETHING, UH, THAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCING OR HAVE AN UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION, OR HAVE A HISTORY OF CANCER THAT YOU JUST ARE NOT AWARE OF.

SO A LOT OF TIMES WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE PRIORITY, B ONE, ONE B GROUP, AND THAT IS ANYBODY WHO'S BETWEEN THE AGE OF 16 OR OVER WHO MAY HAVE AN UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION THAT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL.

UM, SO I THINK, UH, UH, WE JUST NEED TO BE MINDFUL THAT, UH, THOSE INDIVIDUALS MAY PRESENT TO A LOCATION FOR A VACCINE, UH, AND THEY HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE THERE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN, WHERE DOES THE AUSTIN AREA STAND AND GETTING MORE MASS VACCINATION SITES ARE PLANS IN PLACE TO STAND UP MAP MASS VACCINATION SITES AT THE EXPO CENTER AND BURGER STADIUM AS BIGGER VACCINE SHIPMENTS COME IN.

YEAH, I'M HAPPY TO RESPOND.

OUR, UM, INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM IS CONSTANTLY REVIEWING AND LOOKING AND PLANNING FOR ADDITIONAL SITES TO BE ABLE TO STAND UP, TO PUSH OUT ADDITIONAL VACCINE.

RIGHT NOW, THE OPERATIONS THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE ARE SUFFICIENT FOR THE VACCINE ALLOCATIONS THAT WE'VE RECEIVED AND ARE ALSO, UM, ARE ACTUALLY MORE THAN, UM, HAVE MORE CAPACITY, UH, THAN WHAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO PROVIDE AS FAR AS VACCINE.

UM, HOWEVER, WE ARE CURRENTLY STAGING AND PREPARING TO STAND UP A BURGER CENTER.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE PLANNING IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, UH, TO DEVELOP THAT AS A NEW SITE.

AND WE HAVE REVIEWED TRAVIS COUNTY EXPO AS ANOTHER POTENTIAL SITE AND IN THE FALL, UM, LAST FALL, UH, WE ACTUALLY PRACTICED, UH, VACCINE DISTRIBUTION AT TRAVIS COUNTY EXPO CENTER IN ANTICIPATION OF USING THAT LOCATION AS A VACCINE, UH, SITE FOR COVID-19.

SO DEFINITELY, UM, IT'S A CONSTANT EVOLVING PROCESS.

WE CONTINUE TO LOOK FOR LOCATIONS TO BETTER MEET THE COMMUNITY'S NEEDS AND TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE ENOUGH CAPACITY TO, UM, PROVIDE THE D THE VACCINE AS RAPIDLY AS WE RECEIVE IT.

ONE THING I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ADD IS THAT, UM, WE, WE, IN OUR MASS MASS VACCINE PLANNING AS WELL, WE ALSO KNOW THAT THERE ARE ALSO CONCERNS THAT WE'VE RECEIVED FROM THE PUBLIC THAT WOULD LIKE A SMALLER INTIMATE LOCATION.

AND SO IN ORDER TO, UM, ENSURE THAT, THAT WE ARE PROVIDING A LOCATION WHERE MOST PEOPLE ARE COMFORTABLE, UM, WE ARE ALSO LOOKING AT OTHER RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY AS WELL, TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE VACCINES THERE.

WE KNOW THAT FROM AN EQUITY PERSPECTIVE, UM, WE REALLY NEED TO MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE, UM, AND BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THOSE VACCINES.

SO WE ARE LOOKING AT DIFFERENT OPTIONS FROM MASS LARGE SCALE TO ALSO SMALLER, MORE INTIMATE ENVIRONMENTS.

THIS QUESTION IS FROM K O O P RADIO WITH AN ANTICIPATED FLOOD OF VACCINES FROM A THREE APPROVED MANUFACTURER MANUFACTURERS, HITTING STATES IN THE COMING WEEKS, WILL APH HAVE THE ABILITY TO DELIVER ALL OF THIS BOUNTY AND TO CENTRAL TEXTS AND ARMS. AND IF NOT, DOES IT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO REDISTRIBUTE ITS ALLOTMENTS TO ITS ESTABLISHED RETAIL PARTNERS AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED? I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS WE JUST NEED TO CLARIFY IS THAT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS A PROVIDER.

WE ARE NOT A DISTRIBUTOR.

SO WHEN THE OTHER PARTNERS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, THOSE OTHER 350 APPROVED SITES WOULD BE RECEIVING THEIR VACCINES, UM, FROM THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, UM, THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS IMPLEMENTED THE PHARMACY PROGRAM.

WE HAVE BEEN ALERTED THAT THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL PHARMACIES THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED AND HAVE BEGUN TO RECEIVE FEDERAL DIRECT SHIPMENTS FROM

[00:40:01]

THE, THE, UM, UM, FROM THE COMPANIES, FIND THEM IN THERE, ET CETERA.

SO THEY WILL BE RECEIVING THEIR OWN VACCINES.

AND SO, UM, WE ARE REALLY EXCITED TO PARTNER WITH ALL OF THE OTHER APPROVED PROVIDERS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW THAT AT A CERTAIN POINT, WE'RE GOING TO SEE A SHIFT OF WHERE, UM, FOLKS WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE A REQUEST LIKE THEY DO FOR THE FLU VACCINE WITH THIS COVID VACCINE.

AND SO AT THAT POINT, THAT SHIFTS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH BACK TO BEING A SAFETY NET PROVIDER.

AND I'LL JUST ADD, UM, WE HAVE THE CAPACITY RIGHT NOW TO DISTRIBUTE CLOSE TO 36,000 OR ACTUALLY EXCEEDING 36,000 VACCINE A WEEK.

UM, THAT'S NOT OUR CURRENT ALLOCATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT STATE HEALTH SERVICES.

UM, AND SO WE ARE FULLY STAGED AND READY TO RECEIVE A LARGE ALLOCATION OF THE NEW JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK.

SO WE ANTICIPATE WHAT WE, UM, WHAT WE ARE RECEIVING, UH, WE'LL BE ABLE TO STAGE RESOURCES AND MOBILIZE, UM, AS RAPIDLY AS WE RECEIVE IT.

THIS QUESTION IS FROM K U T WHAT ARE AP H S PLANS TO USE THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINES? WELL, THEY GO TO THE MASS VACCINATION SITE AT COTA, WHICH VACCINES WILL BE USED SPECIFICALLY FOR THAT SITE AND SLASH OR FEATURE.

RIGHT? SO I'LL JUMP IN INITIALLY I DO WANT TO CLARIFY THAT THE KOCIDE ACTUALLY IS A PARTNERSHIP THAT TRAVIS COUNTY HAS PUT TOGETHER WITH, UM, SETON ASCENSION AND WITH COMMUNITY CARE.

AND SO THE CODE OF VACCINES THAT ARE CURRENTLY BEING PROVIDED ARE NOT FROM THE APH HUB ALLOCATION.

UH, THAT BEING SAID, I THINK THERE'S A THING PLANS IN PLACE TO LEVERAGE AND PROVIDE VACCINE WHATEVER VACCINE IS AVAILABLE TO PUSH INTO THAT SIDE.

I THINK THEY WILL PROVIDE THAT THERE.

UM, HOWEVER, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE, AND THE HUB PROVIDER THAT WE, THAT WE'RE, THAT WE ARE.

UM, WE HAVE PLANS TO PUSH THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE INTO OUR CURRENT MASS VACCINE STRATEGY, UH, THROUGH OUR CURRENT SITES THAT WE HAVE, UM, MOBILIZED AND THEN ALSO HAVE PLANS FOR THE OTHER SITES THAT WE ARE PLANNING FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, UM, INCLUDING BURGER CENTER AND OTHER POTENTIALS.

UH, WE HAVEN'T IDENTIFIED WHERE, OR WHEN WE'LL, UM, UM, ALLOCATE THOSE DOSES AT THIS TIME BECAUSE WE CURRENTLY DON'T HAVE ANY DOSES, UM, IN HOUSE, BUT AS SOON AS WE RECEIVE THEM, UM, WE ARE PLANNING FOR, UM, ALLOCATE THE, ALLOCATING THEM THROUGH OUR CURRENT, OUR CURRENT VACCINE LOCATION.

THANK YOU.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL NOW GO INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS, UH, DIRECTOR HAYDEN HOWARD.

THANK YOU.

UM, JUST A REMINDER.

UM, WE, WE KNOW THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE VERY INTERESTED IN RECEIVING THE VACCINE AND WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE VACCINE.

WE ENCOURAGING FOLKS TO GO ONTO, UM, VACCINE FINDER.ORG, UM, AND SEARCH THAT PLATFORM, UM, TO SEE HOW YOU MAY ALSO PLUG INTO OTHER EFFORTS THAT MAY BE PROVIDING VACCINES.

WE ARE ALSO, I'M VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR SCHOOL SATURDAY, UM, THAT WE ARE STANDING UP THIS SATURDAY WORKING WITH, UM, INDIVIDUALS THAT WORK IN SCHOOL SETTINGS, AS WELL AS CHILDCARE PROVIDER PROVIDERS AND THEIR STAFF.

UM, BUT JUST AS A REMINDER, UM, WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE VACCINE, WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASK.

UH, WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE.

I KNOW FOLKS ARE GETTING EXCITED, YOU KNOW, THE WELLNESS LOOKING REALLY NICE.

AND, UM, BUT WE DON'T WANT TO JUST REALLY THROW EVERYTHING WE'D DONE AWAY.

WE ARE NOT THERE YET.

SO PLEASE CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASK.

PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS, WATCH YOUR DISTANCE.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ANYONE, PLEASE QUARANTINE.

AND BY ALL MEANS, PLEASE GO GET A TEST.

IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS THAT TESTING STILL AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, AND IT IS A FREE ASSET FOR OUR COMMUNITY AT THIS TIME, I WILL TRANSITION OVER TO DR.

SCOTT, THANK YOU, STEPHANIE.

UH, AGAIN, OUR, OUR, TO OUR BUSINESS OWNERS, YOU SHOULD BE REQUIRING MASKS TO PROTECT YOUR PATRONS AND YOUR EMPLOYEES TO OUR FAITH LEADERS.

YOU SHOULD BE REQUIRING MASKS TO PROTECT YOUR CONGREGATION, UH, AND, AND TO THE PUBLIC, YOU SHOULD BE

[00:45:01]

WEARING MASKS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY.

UH, WE ARE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS BY ANY MEANS YET WE HAVE TO STAY THE COURSE.

WE HAVE TO REMAIN VIGILANT.

WE HAVE TO GET MORE PEOPLE VACCINATED.

WE HAVE TO AVOID, UH, ANOTHER SURGE, A THIRD SURGE, UH, WHICH MAY BE MORE LIKELY DUE TO, UH, THE RECENT ACTIONS AND TO THE PRESENCE OF BARONS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, SO AGAIN, IF WE ALL CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN CONTINUE TO DISPLAY FOR THE REST OF THE STATE AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, WHAT WE CAN DO IN CENTRAL TEXAS WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT OVER TO JENNIFER SHIP.

THANKS.

UM, AND AGAIN, UH, WE'RE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON SOME, UH, MILESTONES IN OUR, UH, COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE SPRING BREAK THAT'S ABOUT TO OCCUR IN THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO, AS WELL AS EASTER, UM, PASSOVER HOLIDAYS OCCURRING TOWARDS THE END OF THE MONTH.

SO WITH THAT, UH, IF YOU HAVEN'T RECEIVED YOUR BACKS VACCINE, UM, YOU KNOW, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE DOING EVERY THING POSSIBLE TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY.

AND THAT WOULD BE TO, UH, CONTINUE WITH THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES OF MASKING, UH, SOCIAL DISTANCING AS STAYING HOME, IF YOU'RE ILL AND FREQUENTLY WASHING YOUR HANDS AND AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE, UH, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO KEEP OUR CASES DOWN.

UH, WE HERE AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE DATA WE'RE IN A REALLY GOOD SPOT RIGHT NOW.

WE HAVE OUR CASES DECREASING.

UM, UH, AS FAR AS NEW CASES GO AND WE ARE SEEING DECLINES IN HOSPITALIZATIONS, WE'D LIKE TO SEE THAT TREND CONTINUE.

UM, AND THEN UNTIL WE CAN GET A SHOT IN EVERYBODY'S ARM, WHICH IS TRUE PROTECTION TO THE WHOLE COMMUNITY, UH, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE VIGILANT ABOUT WEARING OUR MASKS AND BEING MINDFUL THAT FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON'T, UH, WANT TO WEAR A MASK, BUT WE NEED TO BE RESPECTFUL.

UH, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE PROTECTING HERSELF, USE HIS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT YOURSELF, UH, FROM EXPOSURE.

UH, AND, AND, AND THOSE WHO, UH, CAN CONTINUE TO WEAR MASKS.

UM, AGAIN, WE JUST WANNA MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE WEARING THEIR MASK TO BE PROTECTIVE, BUT ALSO BEING RESPECTED, RESPECTFUL TO THOSE BUSINESS OWNERS AND OTHERS WHO CONTINUE TO USE MASKING AS AN OPTION.

AND FINALLY, JUST TO KIND OF REFLECT BACK, WE'VE BEEN IN THIS RESPONSE OVER A YEAR, UM, AND WE FINALLY HAVE VACCINE AND WE FINALLY HAVE SOME RELIEF IN SEEING SOME OF OUR NUMBERS COME DOWN.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO GET COMPLACENT.

IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE STAY THE COURSE.

UM, SO MANY HEROES AND SHE ROSE AND COMMUNITY ADVOCATES HAVE BEEN HARD AT WORK, AND EVERYONE IS DOING THEIR PART.

AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE THIS COMMUNITY TO GET US PAST THIS DISEASE AND TO OPEN US UP AND GET US TO SOME NORMALCY.

SO WHEN YOU GET A CHANCE TO GET YOUR VACCINE, GET IT, WHEN YOU, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO ASSIST SOMEONE, WHO'S HAVING DIFFICULTY GETTING THEIR VACCINE CONTINUE THAT THAT'S, THAT'S INCREDIBLE WORK.

UM, AND JUST CONTINUE, UM, SUPPORTING ALL OF THOSE INFECTION CONTROL MEASURES THAT HAVE PROTECTED SO MUCH OF US.

UM, AND SO MUCH OF OUR COMMUNITY PROTECT YOURSELF, PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND PROTECT EACH OTHER.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

OKAY.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANKS TO APH DIRECTOR.

STEPHANIE HAYDEN HOWARD, DR.

MARK S. SCOTT, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET AND CASSANDRA DAILYOM APH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION, AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER, HEATHER OSBORN FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.

.

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