SE Texas vaccinations up as delta pushes back herd immunity goal

Thursday, August 19, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

In some encouraging news, the NRG Park site saw a robust number of vaccinations now that $100 are being offered. But one expert points out that the 70 percent vaccination goal toward herd immunity is likely changing with the delta variant running rampant.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Multiple health agencies in southeast Texas are reporting that the demand for COVID-19 vaccines is up. The uptick comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus stretches hospital systems throughout the area.

In numbers obtained by ABC13, Harris County Public Health administered 1,596 first doses Wednesday. They administered 914 on Tuesday. Those numbers are up compared to earlier this month when they administered 431 first doses a day on average.

Leaders attribute the spike to a $100 incentive. People who receive their first dose at any Harris County Public Health site can receive a cash payout.

SEE ALSO: $100 incentive now offered for 1st vaccine dose in Harris Co.

The Houston Health Department also reported a surge in vaccinations. For the first two weeks in August, they administered more than 2,000 first-time doses. At the end of June and beginning of July, those numbers were just in the hundreds.

SEE ALSO: Houston health offering this incentive to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19

In Brazoria County, officials told ABC13 they have more appointments scheduled for next week than they've seen all summer long.

Dr. Shreela Sharma, a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, said she worries that getting herd immunity throughout the country will take longer because of the delta variant. She urged those who are eligible to get vaccinated.

"Delta is so contagious that if you're not vaccinated at some point, you're going to get COVID. The likelihood of you not getting COVID, if you're not vaccinated, is really low," said Sharma. "We know right that this [vaccine] is lifesaving. Our best bet in terms of helping and assisting the population, that is struggling with the decision-making process, is making sure we are providing the right information."

State numbers show Fort Bend County leads the area in its eligible population being fully vaccinated, almost 69%. San Jacinto County is the lowest in our area, with less than 30% of people vaccinated.

For more updates on COVID vaccine numbers, follow Steve Campion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.