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We’re (sort of) halfway vaccinated

It depends on how you’re measuring it. And it’s still not enough, no matter how you look at it.

Texas has hit the halfway point.

As of Friday morning, 50.1 percent of Texans 18 and older are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While this is a milestone for the state, Dr. Susan McLellan is not celebrating.

“It means that 50 percent are not vaccinated, and that’s a problem,” said McLellan, professor of infectious diseases at University of Texas Medical Branch. “It’s been available for everybody 12-and-older for months. I don’t think that’s a very wonderful milestone.”

McLellan and other Texas doctors are concerned about the coronavirus case rate and the country’s newly-introduced, highly-transmissible delta variant. Now the dominant COVID strain in the U.K., experts expect the delta variant to become the dominant strain in Texas, as well.

Early studies show vaccination provides better immunity than contracting the virus does, McLellan said.

“Right now, there are pockets in the population that are not getting vaccinated, and they tend to congregate,” she said. “Young adults may think it’s no biggie to not get vaccinated, and then they go to a bar with a lot of people like them. They easily expose each other and spread it around.”

State vaccination rates can be misleading as a large percentage of vaccinated people live in large urban centers, such as Houston, Austin and Dallas, said Dr. David Lakey, a member of the Texas COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel.

In Harris County, more than 1.8 million people are now fully vaccinated, followed by Dallas County at 1 million. In Travis County, more than 631,000 people are fully vaccinated, the DSHS reported Friday.


Texas ranks 33rd among all states for its rate of vaccination. And its proximity to states with low vaccination rates — including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — could pose a threat to Texans, said Dr. Catherine Troisi, an epidemiologist with UTHealth School of Public Health.

“We don’t live in a bubble,” Troisi said. “People travel from state to state, and they can bring the infection with them.”

This story measured the vaccination rate for people 18 and older. Of course, kids are still vulnerable to COVID, and you can get vaccinated if you’re at least 12 years old, so that’s a somewhat odd way of measuring progress. The Trib identifies 40% of the state’s total population as being vaccinated, with Harris County continuing to be right at the same level as the state as a whole. They give totals for “people who are fully vaccinated”, which will include people who have had two Pfizer or Moderna shots plus people who got the one-shot J&J vaccine, and “total number of shots administered”, which includes people who have had just their first Moderna or Pfizer shot. I estimate from this that Harris is close to fifty percent of the total population having at least one shot, again consistent with the statewide number.

So that’s good and the number will continue to rise, but much more slowly since basically everyone who was eager to get a shot has had theirs. We’re fully into the “people who are hesitant” and “people who face obstacles” part of the journey, and that’s just going to take longer. In the meantime, the Delta and other variants are surging in the parts of the country (and elsewhere) that are less vaccinated, and while hospitalizations remain at manageable levels, that could change. A lot of the country, and a lot of Texas, remains at high risk because of low vaccination rates. I don’t know what more we can do about that.

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  1. ken roberts says:

    ” I estimate from this that Harris is close to fifty percent of the total population having at least one shot…”

    48.3% according to the Harris County data hub, so that qualifies as close to 50%. As you mentioned, 40% of the total population of Harris is fully vaccinated.

    As for those age-eligible to receive the vaccination, Harris County is at 58.6% for at least one dose and 48.6% fully vaccinated. That seems like a lot of people haven’t got their second shots, given that there haven’t been that many first shots given this past month.

    I don’t know if some of that difference could be due to people getting their second shots in another county.

    The data hub also shows that despite targeted outreach efforts, Blacks or African-Americans are only at 22.1% fully vaccinated and Hispanic or Latino are only at 29.4% as of June 7, since that data has a two-week delay. Only part of those low numbers can be accounted for by those populations having more ineligible kids under the age of 12.

    Those cohorts do contain a lot of “people who are hesitant” and “people who face obstacles.”

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    “We’re fully into the “people who are hesitant” and “people who face obstacles” part of the journey, and that’s just going to take longer.”

    I think you’ll find that most who are not vaccinated at this point aren’t vaccine hesitant, or vax-curious, or whatever we’re calling it, they’re vax-abstinent. Abstinence works 100% at preventing adverse vaccine reactions, like the heart problems that seem to be plaguing young healthy people who are injected.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    There are people who might prefer to wait for the Novavax option as well, it will be safer and less side effects than the mRNA vaccines.

    Meantime the selfish people that own Methodist are displaying their continued lack of concern for safety. Not only are they ignoring informed consent, which is the basis of treatment and biomedical research, now they have blocked the sidewalk of Fannin in order to amuse themselves with a construction project to their valet parking greed based revenue stream. Of course this makes pedestrians less safe, now you have to cross the deadly Fannin plus the trolley track an additional two or four times, just so that Methodist can have its selfish project.

    In professional cities, construction doesn’t block sidewalks. The property owner is required to put a cover over the sidewalk so that pedestrians can use it. If you support Methodist, your Progressive Credential should be revoked.