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Significant number of Central Texas residents haven’t gotten second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

A significant number of Central Texas residents appear to be skipping second doses of COVID-19...
A significant number of Central Texas residents appear to be skipping second doses of COVID-19 vaccine even as mask guidance and other restrictions are relaxed for those who are fully vaccinated. (AP/file)(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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(KWTX) - Less than a week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued revised guidance that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors and in most places don’t need them indoors, Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday issued an executive order barring local governments and schools from requiring masks, and Baylor athletics announced a return to 100% capacity for all outdoor events with no mask requirements.

But Department of State Health Services data Tuesday showed the number of fully vaccinated Central Texas residents in every age group is at least 10% lower that the number who’ve received one dose and that fewer than 30% of residents 16 and older in the region are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Dr. Tresa McNeal of Baylor Scott & White says one dose of the Pfizer vaccine is 60% to 70% effective against the virus, while two doses are 95% effective.

From the beginning, she said, there were concerns it would be hard to get people to show up for a second vaccination.

“As with a lot of things in healthcare it’s hard to make time in our day,” she said.

“Screenings like mammograms, I think vaccines can be similar. You schedule one dose then you have to get back in to get another hopefully three to six weeks after the first dose. And it is important even if you’re past that six week point you can still see significant benefit,” McNeal said.

She says the age group the second dose is most important for are those 65 and older.

In Central Texas, about two-thirds of residents 65 and older have received one dose, but fewer than 60% are fully vaccinated.

“They especially need that second dose because we know that they may not respond quite as well as other age groups to the first dose alone,” she said.

Bell County spokesman James Stafford says the decrease in those rolling up their sleeves for a second time seems to be aligned with the overall decrease in demand for the vaccine.

The county is offering the second dose at the vaccination sites Curative is operating, regardless of where residents got the first dose.

Waco McLennan County Health District spokeswoman Kelly Craine says the district sends out text and phone reminders and schedule two dates for off-site clinics to increase the likelihood of someone going to one.

SECOND-DOSE VACCINATION RATES LAG BEHIND FIRST-DOSE RATES

The state’s vaccination plan put frontline healthcare workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities and the elderly at the front of the line for vaccination.

The first shipments of vaccine arrived in the state in mid-December and in early January the state began allocating doses to large vaccination hubs in Central Texas and around the state.

In the second phase of the plan, residents 65 and older and residents with certain medical conditions became eligible for vaccination and in mid-March, eligibility was expanded to residents 50 and older.

At the end of March, vaccination was open to all residents 16 and older.

Statewide Tuesday the difference between the number of partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated residents 16 and older was about 2.5 million while in Central Texas the difference was about 59,500.

DSHS data show almost 66% of residents 80 and older in Central Texas have received one dose while 56% are fully vaccinated, about 3,300 fewer than the first dose total.

More than 68% of Central Texas residents from 65- to 79-years of age have received one dose, while just more than 59% are fully vaccinated, about 9,500 fewer than the first dose total.

More than 48% of area residents from 50- to 64-years-of age have received one dose, while just more than 38% are fully vaccinated, about 15,700 fewer than the first dose total.

And just 23% of Central Texas residents 16-49 have received one dose while just more than 16% are fully vaccinated about 30,400 fewer than the first dose total.

Statewide Tuesday just more than 53% of residents 16 and older have received one dose and just more than 42% were fully vaccinated.

Just more than 37% of Central Texas residents 16 and older have now received first doses and just more than 29% are fully vaccinated.

In Bell County, almost 33% of residents 16 and older have received one dose and about 25.4% are fully vaccinated.

In McLennan County, almost 44% of residents 16 and older haver received one dose and just more than 35% are fully vaccinated.

In Bosque County Tuesday, according to data from the State Vaccination Dashboard, just more than 35% of Bosque County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; almost 20% of Coryell County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 26% of Falls County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 22% of Freestone County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 39% of Hamilton County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 31% of Hill County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 29% of Lampasas County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; 30% of Leon County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; almost 26% of Limestone County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 33% of Milam County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 33% of Mills County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 35% of Navarro County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated; more than 33% of Robertson County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated, and almost 22% of San Saba County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

Adolescents from 12- to 15-years-of-age became eligible last week for the Pfizer vaccine, second doses of which are administered 21 days after the first.

Fewer than 500 Central residents in that age range have received a first dose and eight are fully vaccinated, state data showed Tuesday.

NEW CASES, ADDITIONAL DEATHS

The total number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in Texas since the start of the pandemic increased to more than 2.5 million Tuesday, an increase of 3,159, 2,836 of them new, and another 41 residents diagnosed with the virus have died, pushing the statewide death toll to 49,941.

Another 43 confirmed cases of the virus were reported Tuesday in Central Texas, raising the regional total to 78,851.

COVID-19 has claimed as many as 1,681 lives in Central Texas, but according to the DSHS data Tuesday, the regional death toll was 1,662 including 423 Bell County residents, 11 fewer than the last local count of 434; 33 Bosque County residents; 86 Coryell County residents; 32 Falls County residents; 50 Freestone County residents; 27 Hamilton County residents; 108 Hill County residents; 33 Lampasas County residents; 43 Leon County residents; 78 Limestone County residents; 472 McLennan County residents,16 more than the local count of 456; 48 Milam County residents, one more than the local count of 47; 21 Mills County residents; 142 Navarro County residents, eight fewer than the local count of 150; 43 Robertson County residents, and 23 San Saba County residents.

At least 51,990 cases were active statewide Tuesday, 2,796,266 residents have recovered and 2,222 were hospitalized, 65 more than on Monday.

In Trauma Service Area L, which includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, and Mills counties, at least 46 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized Tuesday, accounting for about 5% all hospitalizations and filling almost 4% of available beds.

At least 18 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Hill and Limestone counties, accounting for about 5% of all hospitalizations and filling about 3% of available beds.

The statewide Lab Test Date positivity rate was 3.89% Tuesday, up from 3.74% Monday.

A positivity rate of 5% or less generally indicates the virus is contained, experts say.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

VACCINATIONS

The Department of State Health Services has notified vaccine providers across the state that they should begin to use the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate adolescents from 12- to 15-years-of-age after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use for people in that age group and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended it, as well.

Parental consent is required for vaccination of children 12-15.

Consent may be oral or written and a parent or guardian does not need to be present when a child is vaccinated, unless required by the provider.

Baylor Scott & White says vaccination appointments for children 12 to 15 must be scheduled by calling 1.844.BSW.VACC.

The state has halted weekly allocations of COVID-19 vaccine to providers because supply exceeds demand instead will fill vaccine orders as they come in.

The state has also opened a call center at 8 a.m. to connect businesses, organizations, and homebound seniors with mobile vaccination teams.

Businesses and civic organizations with 10 or more employees, members or visitors who are willing to be vaccinated may call 844-90-TEXAS and select Option 3 to schedule a visit from a state mobile vaccine team.

Homebound seniors may call 844-90-TEXAS and select Option 1 to request a mobile vaccine team to come to their homes.

A new White House initiative should make it easier to find available vaccines.

Text a zip code to GetVax (438829), or in Spanish to Vacuna (822862), and the response will list three nearby locations with vaccines in stock.

The Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler allows residents to sign up for COVID-19 shots through a list of public health departments and select preferred times of day for vaccinations. Those without internet access may call 1-833-832-7067 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The Waco-McLennan County Health is offering Moderna vaccinations from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday in May at the Waco Convention Center. The clinic is open to residents 18 and older. Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments may be made online, or by calling (254) 750-1890. The Moderna vaccine will also be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays through May at the Convention Center. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Walgreens pharmacies in Central Texas are now offering same day COVID-19 vaccine appointments to residents 16 and older. Appointments may be made online or by calling a Walgreens phone scheduler at 1-800-Walgreens.

The City of Nolanville will host a free no-appointment-needed Moderna COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays at Bell County Fire & Rescue at 84 North Main St. throughout May.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

BELL COUNTY

The Bell County Health District has paused updates of its local dashboard, but says updates will resume if the county’s incidence rate rises to more than 80 cases per 100,000 residents.

Stata data Tuesday, including Fort Hood personnel who live on post, showed no new cases, leaving the county’s total unchanged at 22,582.

The last local update set the virus’ death toll in the county at 434.

State data showed 423 deaths Tuesday.

At least 181 cases were active Tuesday and 21,861 residents have recovered, according to DSHS data.

The Baylor Scott & White Blood Center issued an urgent request for donors of all blood types on Monday.

“The medical center is consistently booking 60% appointments fewer than normal,” officials said.

The center is asking existing and first-time donors to visit BSWBLOOD.com or to call (254) 724-4367 to make an appointment to donate.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor dashboard Tuesday showed two active cases and a total of 370 since Aug. 1, 2020.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas Tuesday showed one active case and a total of 43 since March 2020, 31 of them involving students.

The Killeen ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed seven cases involving students and one involving a staff member in the past seven days and 1,792 confirmed cases since March 16, 2020, including 909 involving students and 883 involving staff.

The Killeen ISD continues to offer free COVID-19 screening to students and employees from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on regular school days at the former Nolan Middle School building at 505 Jasper Dr. in Killeen, using the 2nd Street entrance. Screening is by appointment and students younger than 18 require signed waivers from parents or guardians. The state-funded testing uses BinaxNOW nasal swab tests, which provide results in 15 minutes. Information is available online.

The Temple ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday.

The Belton ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed eight cases across four campuses.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

BELL COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

MCLENNAN COUNTY

The Waco-McLennan County Health District dashboard showed 27,320 total cases Tuesday, an increase of 28.

Local data showed 456 deaths, but DSHS data showed 472, an increase of one.

At least 173 cases were active Tuesday, 26,691 residents have recovered and 18 were hospitalized, two of them on ventilators.

The Central Texas Food Bank will distribute food from 10 a.m. to noon on May 27 at Waco ISD Stadium at 1401 South New Road.

Free COVID-19 test sites are in operation in the Waco area. Additional details are available online.

Baylor University’s online dashboard showed 12 active cases Tuesday, 11 involving students and one involving a staff member. Active cases during the spring semester peaked at 449 on March 4. Since Aug. 1, 2020, a total of 3,994 cases have been confirmed. In the past seven days, nine tests have come back positive. Baylor is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff through the summer. The university will not require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against the virus this fall, but is strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The university has provided revised guidance for the summer, eliminating capacity limitations on outdoor activities, and making face coverings optional outside. Indoors, any student, faculty member or staff member who is fully vaccinated may meet indoors with fully vaccinated people in groups of 15 or fewer without face coverings or social distancing and may also meet with groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in groups of 15 or fewer without face coverings or social distancing.

The McLennan Community College dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday and a cumulative total of 364 cases, 282 involving students.

The Waco ISD dashboard reported no active cases Tuesday and a total of 294 student cases, 301 staff cases and 18 cases involving people classified as “other” since Sept. 8, 2020.

The Midway ISD’s online dashboard Tuesday showed four cases across four campuses.

The Lorena ISD dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday.

The Mart ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday.

The McGregor ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

MCLENNAN COUNTY COVID-19 DEATHS

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

CORYELL COUNTY

Coryell County had 7,002 confirmed and 275 probable cases Tuesday.

At least 7,130 residents have recovered.

The virus has claimed 86 lives in the county, according to state data.

The Copperas Cove ISD’s online dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday.

The Gatesville ISD’s online dashboard showed two active cases on the Junior High campus Tuesday.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported four cases involving employees at the Christina Melton Crain Unit; one case involving an employee at the Hilltop Unit; one involving an inmate and seven involving employees at the Alfred D. Hughes Unit where one inmate was isolated; one case involving an employee at the Mountain View Unit; one case involving an employee at the Dr. Lane Murray Unit, and one case involving an inmate and two involving employees at the Linda Woodman State Jail where 24 inmates were restricted and one was isolated.

The Cove House Free Clinic at 806 West Avenue D, Suite H, is offering free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (254) 289-9865.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

FALLS COUNTY

Falls County had 1,891 confirmed and 199 probable cases of the virus Tuesday.

State data showed at least 2,044 residents have recovered.

The virus has claimed the lives of 32 residents, state data showed.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported no cases at the William Hobby Unit in Marlin, and one case involving an employee at the Marlin Transfer Unit.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

LIMESTONE COUNTY

Limestone County had 2,154 confirmed and 643 probable cases of the virus Tuesday.

At least 2,697 patients have recovered.

The virus has claimed the lives of 78 residents, state data showed.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

NAVARRO COUNTY

Navarro County had 3,467 confirmed and 2,366 probable cases Tuesday.

Of the total, at least 5,615 patients have recovered.

State data showed 142 deaths.

Local data last updated on March 31 showed 150 deaths.

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

OTHER COUNTIES

Bosque County had 1,371 confirmed and 309 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. Of the total, 1,630 residents have recovered and 33 have died, according to state data.

Freestone County had 1,113 confirmed and 825 probable cases Tuesday. At least 1,834 residents have recovered and 50 have died according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported one case involving an inmate and three cases involving employees at the William Boyd Unit in Teague where 57 inmates were restricted and one was isolated.

Hamilton County had 721 confirmed and 58 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. At least 742 residents have recovered and 27 have died, according to state data.

Hill County Tuesday had 3,795 confirmed cases and 716 probable cases. At least 4,369 patients have recovered, and 108 residents have died, according to state data. The Hill College dashboard showed no active cases Tuesday on the Hill County campus. The Hillsboro ISD dashboard Tuesday showed one case at the junior high.

Lampasas County had 1,855 confirmed and 337 probable cases Tuesday. At least 2,136 residents have recovered, and 33 residents have died, according to state data.

Leon County had 1,277 confirmed and 363 probable cases Tuesday. At least 1,581 patients have recovered, and 43 residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data.

Milam County had 1,456 confirmed and 1,092 probable cases Tuesday. At least 2,537 patients have recovered and 48 have died. Eleven cases were active Tuesday, and two patients were hospitalized.

Mills County had 594 confirmed and 62 probable cases of the virus Tuesday. At least 635 patients have recovered and 21 have died, according to state data.

Robertson County had 1,728 confirmed cases Tuesday and 423 probable cases. At least 2,071 patients have recovered, and 43 residents diagnosed with the virus have died, according to state data.

San Saba County had 525 confirmed cases Tuesday and 256 probable cases. At least 762 patients have recovered and 23 have died, according to state data. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday reported one case involving an inmate and two cases involving employees at the San Saba Transfer Unit where one inmate was isolated.

VACCINE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL COVID-19 DATA

COVID-19 INFORMATION, LINKS AND RESOURCES

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