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Austin Public Health to launch pilot drive-thru vaccine site

Thursday, March 18, 2021 by Sangita Menon, KUT

Austin Public Health is planning to launch a drive-thru vaccination site at Toney Burger Activity Center in South Austin on Saturday. Plans for the pilot program aren’t finalized, but the health department expects to administer 1,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine. APH spokesperson Jen Samp said the site will help improve accessibility.

“This way those who don’t want to walk in or don’t have the ability to use a walk-in site can stay in their vehicles,” Samp said.

It also provides access for people in different parts of the city.

“We have almost all of our sites on the east side of Travis County,” Samp said. “(This site is) located so that people can have an easy transportation and access point.”

As with APH’s other sites, vaccines will be available by appointment only, though those appointments can’t be scheduled until APH has the pilot operation fully set up.

Those who do get an appointment will be expected to arrive within an hour of their scheduled time, wear a face mask and show proof of their appointment in the form of a text or email – unless APH has been in contact with them by phone. Drivers will stay in their vehicles the entire time.

APH warns that other people in the vehicle will not get a dose unless they also have an appointment.

Initial plans are for the site to run on Saturdays. APH may also scale up the number of available doses based on the success of the pilot. That will reduce vaccine availability at other sites unless APH is allotted more vaccines from the state. A designated vaccine hub, APH typically receives 12,000 first doses each week, plus an adequate number of second doses.

APH said there are more than 200,000 people in the 1A and 1B priority groups registered to receive a vaccine through the agency.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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