‘Pandemic of the unvaccinated people,’ doctors say as hospitalizations increase

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Hospitalization numbers have increased across the Rio Grande Valley of those getting COVID-19, local doctors say most of those people are not vaccinated.

Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority, and James Castillo, Cameron County’s Health Authority, say there is a reason why they are using the term, “pandemic of the unvaccinated people.”

“Over 90% of the people hospitalized are unvaccinated; the vaccine never offered 100% protection against getting hospitalized and it doesn’t offer 100% protection against death,” said Dr. Castillo. 

Dr. Castillo says three weeks ago their numbers were low but now the numbers have increased in the region. 

“Now since July 1 till today July 23 there’s now 206 people hospitalized so that’s way more than double the number of Covid hospitalizations in our region,” said Dr. Castillo. 

As for those infected in Hidalgo County Dr. Melendez says, “right now we have almost 13% of all our beds in Hidalgo County in the hospitals that are occupied by patients that are positive for Covid.” And DHR’s Chief of Medicine, Dr. Robert Martinez says, “we’re still in control but we’re up to about 25 at times.”

Although doctors say the main group hospitalized are those unvaccinated, they do say there are few that are fully vaccinated who are hospitalized. 

“10% of the people hospitalized are fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Castillo. 

Dr. Martinez also says at DHR they are seeing an increase in children being admitted into the hospital with COVID-19. 

“Starting to see an increase in the number of pediatrics coming through here I think we just admitted one just a little while ago that was one year old,” said Dr. Martinez.

Dr. Martinez says one of the main reasons has to do with vaccine eligibility because as of right now only children older than 12 can get the vaccine.  

However, all the doctors agree that it is better to get the vaccine now than wait. 

“It absolutely protects you against COVID it’s the best protection you can get.” Dr. Castillo adds, “the fact that it’s still spreading means that it’s not over and it’s not too late to start getting vaccinated.”

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