HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The percentage of Texans with at least one COVID-19 vaccine continues to go up as the number of new cases and hospitalizations go down.
Currently, the Rio Grande Valley is averaging around 100 new cases of COVID-19 a day, far fewer than the several hundred a day average at the start of the year.
“It was a little bit lower before we went into the winter, so before Thanksgiving, we were at slightly lower levels than we are at right now, but we’re still at a downward trend in the hospitals,” said Dr. James Castillo, the health authority for Cameron County.
In Cameron County, over half of adults 65 and older are fully vaccinated. The state has been prioritizing older adults so less than a third of those 16 to 64 are fully vaccinated, but that should be changing soon.
Under President Joe Biden, the vaccine distribution has increased greatly. The President has mandated that all adults be eligible for vaccines by the end of April. Every adult in Texas has been eligible since March 29.
“You’re seeing it available in pharmacies, we’re distributing it out to doctor’s offices. So hopefully very soon it’s just a matter of walking by somewhere and saying ‘yeah sure I’ll get my shot’,” said Castillo.
With all adults in Texas eligible for vaccines, the demographics of COVID-19 patients are starting to change.
“What you’re seeing in other states though, is that the states that are in an upswing are definitely seeing younger people getting it and children getting it,” said Castillo.
Previously the youngest a person could be to get a COVID-19 vaccine was 16, but just today Pfizer asked the FDA to allow them to give their vaccine to children 12 and up.
“A good portion of our population is under 18 and if we can’t give them immunity that gives the virus a place to keep on spreading, so the more of those aged kids we can get to, the quicker we can get to this idea where the virus doesn’t have hosts,” said Castillo.
Dr. Castillo said he was hopeful that children could start getting the vaccine by the summer time.