In the city of Austin, health leaders began promoting vaccination against COVID-19 in eligible patients, warning that all local hospitals are full of pandemic patients and cannot afford an increase in infections. Austin Public Health announced Thursday that people 12 years of age and older could get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time they get the flu vaccine.
The good news is that Austin Public Health offers both vaccines at various clinics around Austin. However, Adrienne Sturrup, the acting director of Austin Public Health, said in a public briefing on Friday that many doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies, and schools can also administer both vaccines simultaneously.
Sturrup said: “You have two arms, you receive two injections: one for the flu and, if you are not fully vaccinated or need a third dose because you are immunosuppressed, one for COVID. If you are waiting for the COVID boosters to be approved, it is still a great time to get a flu shot and help protect our community from another outbreak.”
While during a surge in COVID-19 cases last fall, Austin and Travis’s counties experienced a record low in flu illnesses. Austin-Travis County Doctor and Health Authority Desmar Walkes attributed the low number of flu infections last year to COVID-19 guidelines set out by Austin Public Health, which included maintaining social distance, wearing masks, washing hands regularly, and stay home when sick.
He also said that it is very important that people continue to use the masks during the fall and announced that COVID-19 cases are decreasing, but hospitals are still overwhelmed and do not have enough staff to treat an outbreak of flu coronavirus.
Walkes said: “Since the flu is also an infection spread by aerosol droplets, we know that we should not only do the masking efforts that we have done in the past but also help people get vaccinated against the flu.”
Fortunately, the COVID-19 data in Travis County, which was released on Friday, showed an improvement in hospitalization cases for this disease.
Also, this week the county only recorded 38 new hospital admissions for COVID-19. However, the seven-day moving average of new daily hospital admissions, which helps Austin Public Health determine the guidelines for the most vulnerable members from the community medical point of view, remained at 44 for the second day and below 50 for the fourth day.
On Friday, Walkes said an exact date could not be estimated for when Austin Public Health would move to Stage 4 of the agency’s risk-based guidelines. Despite this, he said he was hopeful about the stages, ranging from the safest Stage 1 to the current one. Stage 5: It will continue to decline as more people sign up for vaccines.