AUSTIN, Texas — Travis County leaders are working on plans for more drive-thru mass vaccination events at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
On Monday, Travis County Judge Andy Brown told KVUE “the stars are aligning” to have more events after a successful test run over the weekend at COTA. Brown said he was at COTA already making plans for the next event, which he said could happen as soon as this weekend. About 1,300 volunteers have already signed up to help administer vaccines.
The Travis County Commissioners Court will consider a $16,500 contract with COTA on Tuesday for three to six months for more drive-thru mass vaccination events. Additional details of the county’s plans were not immediately available Tuesday morning.
“We’re getting more vaccines available and we are now putting together the ability to do it in a mass drive-thru vaccination scenario,” Brown said. “So, so far, so good. It seems like everything is coming together for this four-county collaboration to get vaccines out.”
The first event was a collaboration between Travis, Bastrop, Hays and Caldwell counties.
Brown said the goal of the next event is to vaccinate up to 10,000 people over two or three days.
Brown said he’s been telling Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd for months that when more vaccine supply is available, the county wants to have a mass drive-thru vaccination site.
If Travis County needs assistance with planning and logistics for the mass vaccination site, a spokesperson for TDEM told KVUE that's where the state agency could step in to help. As of Tuesday morning, that request had not been made.
Vaccine dose allocation is handled by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Now that the FDA has authorized the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Brown said that could help with supply and logistics for the drive-thru site.
“We would be able to really ramp up the numbers if we're just giving one dose,” Brown said. “When you do two doses, that in effect eventually limits you because if you get 5,000 on a Saturday, a month after that, you need to give 5,000 new ones plus 5,000 second doses. So it reduces your capacity over the long run.”
Brown said he hopes Travis County can be moved over to the new vaccine, which doesn’t have to be stored in a freezer and is easier to transport and store, according to the CDC.
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