GIVE IT A SHOT

Austin opens walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics as Texas boosts statewide outreach

Austin opens walk-up COVID vaccine clinics as Texas boosts outreach

CVS covid-19 vaccine dose shot public
The newest phase of the DSHS campaign aims to provide widespread safety info about COVID-19 vaccines. Photo courtesy of CVS Health

Coinciding with news that Austin Public Health is rolling out a walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Delco Activity Center this week, the Texas Department of State Health Services is launching the next phase of its vaccination campaign — which includes $1.5 million in TV and radio advertising and outreach pop-up events throughout Texas, including in Austin.

With the goal of providing general info about vaccine safety and effectiveness, the campaign is particularly targeted at groups that research shows may be less likely to get vaccinated, according to DSHS.

As part of its campaign, DSHS will host a COVID-19 vaccine outreach pop-up Thursday, April 22 from 4-8 pm at the Walmart store at 710 E. Ben White Boulevard in South Austin. The four-hour event will include a 16-foot display and video wall providing info about the vaccine and its effectiveness, and addressing common concerns people may have about the shots.

Additionally, the statewide organization is working with local groups, including United Way for Greater Austin and UT Dell Medical School’s Department of Women’s Health, to help disseminate vaccine information to the entire community.

“The vaccines are working,” says Dr. Christina Salazar, an assistant professor of women’s health at UT Austin Dell Medical School. “Vaccines available from all manufacturers are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has fallen by more than 75 percent since January.”

This phase of the DSHS campaign also includes 21 other Walmart parking lot pop-ups throughout Texas in the coming weeks, with the group hosting the event first in Austin, then in Houston on Friday, April 23, and in Beaumont on Saturday, April 24.

Texans can expect to see and hear more TV, radio, and digital messages regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, with the first ad — featuring Dr. Farris Blount of Houston reaching out to his fellow black Texans about the importance of getting vaccinated — beginning this week.

The DSHS news comes as Austin Public Health announced April 20 that it will offer a walk-up vaccine clinic Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23 at the Delco Activity Center at 4601 Pecan Brook Dr. in East Austin. COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered from noon to 7:30 pm or until vaccines run out. Should that happen, onsite staff will help Austinites schedule a new vaccine appointment.

Residents 18 years old and older can arrive at the walk-up clinic without an appointment, though APH encourages Austinites to create an account and pre-register for the vaccine at covid19.austintexas.gov prior to attending the clinic.

Additionally, APH says Austinites 18 years old or older can also log into the online scheduling website (covid19.austintexas.gov) to schedule an appointment. Scheduling will close Friday, April 23 at 7 am.

Moving forward, APH’s appointment scheduling system will be open from 7 pm on Fridays to 7 am the following Friday and will reopen again at 7 pm for appointments for the following week. The 12-hour closure of the scheduling system on Fridays will allow APH to finalize the appointment schedule and update appointment times for the following week. 

Austinites who cannot access the online scheduler can call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 for assistance with tech issues, account creation, and pre-registration.