More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses given in Harris County

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- New demographic data shows Harris County is outpacing other COVID-19 vaccine providers among vulnerable populations, according to county officials.

More than a million vaccine doses have been given in the county, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. The benchmark means 12.1% of the county's population has been fully vaccinated.

While millions have gotten an injection, an estimated 750,000 people have passed through waitlists, Hidalgo said.

The demographic data from the Harris County Public Health Department and ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry shows vaccines are reaching a higher proportion of vulnerable people, but Black and Hispanic populations are getting vaccines at lower rates, according to a statement from Hidalgo's office.

"17.5% of people administered with at least one dose by HCPH have been Black / African American residents as compared to only 9.8% by other providers," officials said. "31.1% of people administered with at least one dose by HCPH have been Hispanic / Latino residents, compared to only 19.9% by other providers. The overall percentage of Black residents in Harris County is 18.7% and Hispanic residents make up 43.3% of the population."

"The fastest and fairest way for Harris County to emerge from this crisis is by ensuring that everyone does their part to make sure everyone has access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. It's not a mystery to anyone which populations and parts of our county have been hit hardest by this pandemic," Hidalgo said in a statement. "Every organization that administers vaccines has a moral responsibility to make sure they're working to provide access through efficiency, equity, and fairness."

RELATED: Demand expected to exceed COVID-19 vaccine supply as Texas expands eligibility

Efforts to increase vaccine participation have been guided by a vaccine equity strategy implemented by the county last month. The strategy outlines outreach, allocation and registration procedures for health officials.

SEE ALSO: All Texas adults will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine next week, state announces

As counties like Harris continue to rollout more doses, the state of Texas is launching a toll free number for Texans without internet access. If you are over 80 years old, the state is now directing all providers to allow you to walk up and get a shot without an appointment.

"We would anticipate it would probably be May, before you can go to our website, click and find a slot," said Roberta Schwartz, the executive vice president of Houston Methodist, the area's largest vaccine hub provider. "We anticipate [until then] we're still reaching out to people on our list."

State data shows more than 6 million Texans have had their first dose and more than 3 million Texans are fully vaccinated. However, the supply of vaccines is not expected to exceed the demand for at least another month.

SEE ALSO: Houston, Harris County requesting extension in support for vaccine clinic at NRG Park

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