UT-Austin begins administering vaccines to Phase 1B population

Kevin Vu

The University began distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to members of the 1B group — people 65 and older or 16 and older with underlying health conditions — on Jan. 19, according to a UT spokesperson. 
The University received 1,950 doses of the vaccine for those in the 1B population last week, and additional doses will be received on a weekly basis, said Jonathan Robb, director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

“As long as we receive (vaccine) allocations, and we have that population to serve, we'll continue to vaccinate the 1Bs,” Robb said. “Eventually, the state will determine what the next phase is going to be and who meets that criteria, and then we'll move on to that phase.” 

Robb also said the state of Texas designated the University as a vaccination hub.

“The goal of (vaccination hubs is) to provide more people with the vaccinations and a simple way for them to sign up for an appointment,” Robb said. “So (they’re) basically large-scale sites all across the state that can give the vaccinations hopefully more quickly as more vaccines are available.”
Undeclared sophomore Colleen Ryan said she received the vaccine as part of Phase 1B and hopes it will help protect her family from COVID-19. 

“I’m less worried about myself as much as I am (for my parents) because they still come visit, and it's given me a lot of anxiety worrying about them possibly picking up (COVID-19) from me,” Ryan said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet confirmed if those who have been vaccinated can still spread the virus. However, the CDC said it is possible for a person to be infected by the virus before or after vaccination because it takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity. 
Ryan said the process to receive the vaccine felt safe and accessible. She said she waited in line for around 20 minutes, was screened for allergies before receiving the vaccine and was observed for 15 minutes after vaccination in case of any adverse effects.

“I’m just glad that we’re getting the opportunity to start getting vaccinated and as more people do, everything will feel a lot safer,” Ryan said.

Laura Davis, an applied learning and development freshman, said she qualified for Phase 1B because of a blood clot disorder and discovered she was eligible to receive the vaccine through an email from the University.

“It sounds weird to say you're excited for a vaccine, but I was glad that they are finally starting to distribute it, and that the people who needed it had a chance to get it,” Davis said.