VaxTogetherAustin is a COVID-19 health equity project of TogetherAustin, supporting underserved populations in Central Texas. We connect individuals with vaccine appointments and remove barriers to vaccine access through human connection, simplified appointment sign ups, outreach, partnerships with vaccine hubs and local pharmacies, and collaborations with other vaccine finding organizations.
We began as a loose coalition of volunteers drawn from various grassroots groups dedicated to helping people find COVID-19 vaccine appointments in and around the Austin area, starting in January 2021. Our early efforts focused on serving seniors, the blind and visually impaired, medically fragile individuals, hesitant individuals, and underserved communities, while also assisting anybody who reached out for help.
VaxTogetherAustin is now a project of TogetherAustin, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We focus on increasing vaccine equity and access throughout Central Texas, in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties. We work closely with Walgreens’ Regional and local leadership as well as a fleet of dedicated Walgreens pharmacists to support waste reduction efforts and vaccine equity with mobile and store clinics. We have also assisted major regional hubs for Travis and Williamson Counties.
In February 2021, a visually impaired Austinite helped us identify a vaccine access and advocacy need in the blind and visually impaired community. Through our partnership with Walgreens, we brought a 300-dose Pfizer clinic to Austin Lighthouse. Austin Lighthouse (Travis Association for the Blind) employs 500 essential workers with disabilities, about half of whom are visually impaired. We are honored to be considered a friend of the Lighthouse community.
In March 2021, we formed a partnership with Austin Independent School District and Austin Council of PTAs, and began organizing vaccine clinics that bring Walgreens pharmacists directly to school campuses, with a focus on Title I schools in socially vulnerable communities and neighborhoods that have, despite high levels of infection, received low vaccine distribution relative to the rest of the city. In May 2021, Round Rock Independent School District joined us as a partner, and we expanded operations to bring large vaccine clinics to RRISD schools as well.
Also in May 2021, we incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and elected a Board of Directors. Our board and leadership represent a consortium of volunteers who have been contributing to vaccine equity and access efforts through many separate organizations. These include: Austin Vaccine, Austin Vaccine Angels, COVID Vaccine Finders, Find Me a Vaccine, Kendra’s Covid Coaches, and Tex Vax Volunteers.
Currently we connect hundreds of people weekly to vaccine appointments at various Walgreens locations. We have a website, moderate numerous WhatApp groups, a growing Facebook page with 5000+ members, and respond to scores of individual inquiries.
We are cultivating working friendships and relationships with Councilwoman Fuentes of District 2, AustinLighthouse, Austin Public Health, Ascension Seton, Dell Medical School, Knowbility, Family Hospital Systems, and Runner City. Our growth fuels our mission to reduce disparities in vaccine access and get shots in arms.
TogetherAustin is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to connect Central Texans to resources by reducing barriers, expanding access, and fillings gaps in services. VaxTogetherAustin is our first project. For more information about TogetherAustin and our upcoming projects, visit TogetherAustin.org.