June 28, 2021
New mobile vaccines and incentive programs aim to increase vaccination rates in ZIP codes with vaccination rates lower than 50%
(Austin, Texas) – Central Health, in partnership with Austin Public Health (APH), Travis County, and CommUnityCare Health Centers, launched a new “Let’s Stick Together” initiative to support COVID-19 vaccinations. The initiative aims to achieve the community-focused goal of 70% of eligible Travis County residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4, and 70% of residents fully vaccinated by Labor Day.
“For more than a year, we’ve joined as a community to keep our friends and family safe from COVID-19. Working together, we’ve saved lives. Continuing to keep each other safe is how we will stop the spread and return to pre-pandemic life,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. ”We can get to Stage 1, the lowest risk level of this pandemic, if we all do our part and help each other get vaccinated. We can do this.”
Through the “Let’s Stick Together, Central Texas/Vacunémonos y Juntémonos, Central Texas”
initiative, the City of Austin and Travis County will be launching a new calendar and interactive map that will show daily mobile pop-up vaccination sites focused on communities with lower vaccination rates. Additionally, to increase vaccination rates, Central Health is paying providers to vaccinate patients in high-risk communities, and offering incentives to patients who get vaccinated, including gift cards and branded t-shirts.
APH and Travis County have adjusted their strategy to include smaller, more nimble pop-up mobile sites at churches, neighborhood stores, community centers and libraries in high-risk ZIP
codes in addition to mass vaccination hubs such as Travis County Expo. Easily accessible to most residents in those areas, these sites don’t require payment, appointments, or identification, and are critical in addressing vaccine equity as communities of color continue to experience lower vaccination rates.
“Travis County has done better than most of Texas and many parts of the country when it comes to vaccination rates, but we still have work to do,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “Each and every person in this community counts and we won’t stop until everyone is protected from COVID-19. Think of this vaccine effort like you would Election Day – make a plan to get vaccinated, and bring your family, friends and coworkers to get vaccinated with you.”
Where We Stand
As of June 28, more than 69% of the Travis County population age 12 and older are vaccinated with at least one dose, and 59% are fully vaccinated. These rates are significantly higher than the statewide rates of 57% and 48%, respectively. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
“We can and should be proud of the work everyone has done to get to this point, but there are still communities and age groups with vaccination rates of less than 50% – we have to do more and do better,” Central Health Board of Managers Chairperson Sherri Greenberg said. “We must continue to address the many barriers – from lack of transportation, technology, and information to legitimate, even historic, vaccine fears. ‘Let’s Stick Together’ is one way of showing our commitment to collaborating with our partners to improve health equity for everyone.”
Along with the mobile pop-up calendar, map and the incentive programs, the “Let’s Stick Together, Central Texas/Vacunémonos y Juntémonos, Central Texas“ initiative includes working with community partners to schedule vaccination clinics and events in areas with low vaccination rates. APH launched a new online form that community groups can use to request a pop-up vaccine clinic at specific locations. APH and Central Health are also placing targeted advertising on radio, in print, and online in both Spanish and English.
“We are seeing the very real and profound effect equity-focused COVID vaccine efforts have on decreasing the number of new positive cases and hospitalization rates,” Austin/Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said. “Vaccines are the safe, proven, and most effective way to keep our families, friends and loved ones safe from COVID-19 and its complications. We know there is work to do to ensure every eligible resident has the information and opportunity to stay as safe and healthy as possible.”
The following organizations are contributing to and participating in the “Let’s Stick Together, Central Texas/Vacunémonos y Juntémonos, Central Texas” Campaign: