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Austin Public Health cleared to administer boosters to 16 and 17-year-olds as demand for shots increases

Austin health leaders are urging anyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot to do so.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health (APH) is now administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to anyone 16 years old and older who is already fully vaccinated.

APH leaders are urging anyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 booster to do so. Pfizer doses, along with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, are available at APH locations, pharmacies, medical offices and community clinics throughout the Austin area.

APH leaders said in a Dec. 10 COVID-19 Q&A that Austin-Travis County continues to see success with vaccination efforts as eligibility has expanded.

"With the new pediatric five to 11-year-olds, we're making great progress there. We have seen that 27% of that population living, that's eligible living in Travis County, has gotten the first dose. And we know now that about half of them have been fully vaccinated," said Cassandra DeLeon, chief administrative officer for disease prevention and health promotion at APH.

RELATED: Travis, Williamson, Hays counties outpacing Texas in percentage of children 5-11 who’ve received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

DeLeon also said Austin-Travis County is seeing increased demand for booster shots.

"We have seen that 24% of our fully vaccinated population has received an additional dose, which is incredible. And so, that means that people are actively getting vaccinated. We have that 200,000 people who have received that additional dose, and that means that we're just that much more protected," DeLeon said.

DeLeon said while demand varies from clinic to clinic, about 75% to 90% of the vaccines recently administered at APH clinics are booster doses. To address that increased demand, APH is making operational changes at its clinics to ensure vaccinations run smoothly, including increasing staff.

Both DeLeon and Janet Pichette, APH's chief epidemiologist, said that with the walk-up process, there might be some wait time. To expedite the process, both recommend registering through the APH vaccine portal and, if possible, making an appointment.

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