KVUE — During a town hall meeting about the coronavirus vaccine in Austin on Thursday, December 4, health leaders said the COVID-19 vaccine will most likely be available for some healthcare workers on December 18 or December 19, but there is a chance it could come as early as next week.
Hosted by the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and the Travis County Medical Society, Austin's top doctor Dr. Mark Escott, and Austin Public Health Director Dr. Stephanie Hayden participated in a virtual town hall to discuss how they're preparing for the arrival of the vaccine. They touched on how the coordination between health care systems and providers will work and how it will be distributed efficiently and equitably.
Escott laid out four phases for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in Travis County.
Phase one is expected to have a limited supply of the vaccine, so those who are most vulnerable will get it first. That includes healthcare workers, specifically those working directly with patients in a nursing home or long-term care facility, as well as those patients living in those facilities.
"So if we can avoid the hospitalizations, critical care stays and deaths, we can limit the exposures on the hospital side," said Escott.
Phase two runs from January 2021 until July 2021. The number of doses available increases to 660 million in the U.S. and we will start to see local pharmacies and other distributors get the vaccine.
"My guess is physicians, and nurses and staff outside of the hospital or emergency setting will look at February or march for availability," said Escott.
In phase three, which starts in July, they predict we will have enough vaccines to go around, and the same for phase four, which starts in October 2021.
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