AUSTIN, Texas – Austin Public Health (APH) is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility following federal authorization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This age group is eligible to receive the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.
Updated recommendations include:
- Moderna (6 months to 5 years) – 2 doses given 4-8 weeks apart.
- Pfizer (6 months to 4 years) 3 doses. 2nd dose is given 3-8 weeks after 1st dose, 3rd dose is given at least 8 weeks after 2nd dose.
- Boosters are not currently recommended for this age group.
“This vaccine expansion comes at a critical time when we’re dealing with new subvariants and high community transmission,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “These vaccines will help to protect your children from severe COVID-19 symptoms and being hospitalized.”
Special training is necessary to administer shots to babies and young children. APH’s highly trained staff is ready to offer vaccines at Shots for Tots clinics and through the Mobile Vaccination Program (MVP). Historically, most people in Travis County obtain vaccines at pharmacies or doctors’ offices but APH continues efforts to fill in the gaps by serving at-risk and underserved populations at its clinics and through community outreach. APH, which recently received Exemplary Provider status for Immunization and Testing Services by The Compliance Team, has administered almost 394,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since December of 2020.
Parents with children under 5 years of age can skip the online appointment process and show up for their vaccine at APH’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Old Sims Elementary (1203 Springdale Rd., Austin, TX 78721).
- Wednesday and Thursday: 2-7 p.m. (Moderna and Pfizer)
- Saturday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Moderna and Pfizer)
More than 74% of Travis County’s previously eligible population (ages 5+) is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That same population is also eligible for a booster dose. The CDC recommends an additional booster for adults 50 and older.
“The expanded availability is another milestone in building our community’s resiliency and protection from COVID-19,” said APH Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Families with little ones can visit their doctor’s office or APH to get the vaccine and stay up to date on boosters. Vaccines at our clinics are free and do not require identification, insurance, or proof of citizenship.”
Free N95 respirators
Wearing a well-fitting mask offers protection for yourself and those around you. Free N95 respirators are available at some local pharmacies. Use a feature on the CDC’s website to find a location near you.
Free COVID-19 tests
APH encourages testing before and after gatherings, especially if you plan to be in close contact with individuals who are at risk. A third round of free mail-order COVID-19 test kits is available through the federal government. You can also pick up free rapid antigen tests at APH’s Metz Elementary testing site (84 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St., Austin, TX 78702).
Testing and Vaccination Information
APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without an appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
A list of Travis County vaccine distribution events can be found online.
The APH Mobile Vaccination Program brings vaccine clinics to businesses, churches and more. APH is asking all organizations to fill out an online form to request a pop-up clinic.
About Austin Public Health
Austin Public Health is the health department for the City of Austin and Travis County. Austin Public Health works to prevent disease, promote health and protect the well-being of all by monitoring and preventing infectious diseases and environmental threats and educating about the benefits of preventative behaviors to avoid chronic diseases and improve health outcomes.