UT Health Austin receives, prepares to distribute 2,925 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Andrew Zhang

UT Health Austin received 2,925 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday to be distributed to frontline UT health care workers as part of the first Texas shipment in a nationwide vaccination effort. 

Starting Tuesday, health care workers including faculty, staff and students delivering clinical care in the Austin area will begin receiving the vaccine, according to a UT news press release. Vaccine distribution will take nine days, according to the release.

Stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, the Pfizer vaccine requires two rounds of vaccination. UT expects the second round of doses for this initial dosage in early January 2021, according to the release.

“This has been a long haul for everyone, but especially for the health care providers who have been putting their own lives at risk in taking care of COVID-19 patients,” said Amy Young, chief clinical officer for UT Health Austin, in the press release. “Having the vaccine finally gives us hope for a future without COVID.”

The Pfizer vaccine uses research developed by the lab of Jason McClellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences, according to previous Texan reporting

It is unclear when general UT students, faculty and staff can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to previous Texas reporting. When UT receives the vaccine for the general public, the University will administer vaccines free of charge but will not make them mandatory to return to campus.

Texas received 19,500 total doses of the initial shipment of vaccines, including the 2,925 UT Health Austin received, according to the Austin American-Statesman. State officials have said Texas will receive 1.4 million doses in December.

In a press conference last week, Austin public health authorities said Austin is seeing rampant community transmission of COVID-19 following Thanksgiving and urged citizens to remain cautious throughout the winter holidays.