HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Many studied have shown that minorities are being affected the most with COVID-19. The numbers in Texas show just that.
Forty percent of the Texas population is Hispanic, however they make up over half of all COVID cases in the state and 45% of the total deaths.
They are overrepresented in the number of COVID-19 cases and underrepresented in the number of vaccinations.
“Without a doubt, I think that death rates in Hispanics are directly related to their access to healthcare which translates into a poorer, lower baseline state of health,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority.
The Rio Grande Valley is one of the regions with the least insured individuals in the state. Over 25% of Hispanics in the state don’t have health insurance.
“If you do not have access to healthcare, you’re going to be a lot sicker when the virus hits you. For that reason, we’ve been among the worst in the nation in mortality rates and outcomes,” said Melendez.
Despite the overrepresentation in deaths and cases, less than a third of vaccinations in the state have been given to Hispanics.
One of the key factors for that low percentage of vaccination is the average age of a Hispanic person in the state is lower than that of a white or black person, according to the United States Census bureau.
Melendez said younger people are less likely to feel the need to get the vaccine.
“I think it’s all related to youth, the feeling of invincibility, the thought that it’s not gonna impact them, and the fact that they’re the last ones that are really having access to the vaccine,” said Melendez.
All doctors can do is ask the more hesitant younger generation to think of their community.
“People hear all these tragedies and they still are hesitant to get it. And so all we can do is continue to message, continue to message, continue to message, and hope that if we get one person today, it’s one less,” said Melendez.