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Doctors weigh in on reaching herd immunity

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The latest vaccination rates across the Valley show more than half of those 12 and over are completely vaccinated, with Starr County coming in with the highest number at over 86 percent. Meanwhile, Willacy County had the lowest rate with 65 percent of its population vaccinated.

Click here to see your county's current vaccination rate. 

During a commissioner’s court meeting in El Paso County last week, the city's assistant fire chief claimed the city reached herd immunity.

"We are absolutely the first city in Texas to receive this level of vaccines within the community," said Jorge Rodriguez.

But some experts say it’s misleading to say a specific city reached herd immunity, even when there is still a pandemic, and people under 12 cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"The levels of virus are so high, the only way that we have to contain the virus is getting more and more people vaccinated," said UTMB Health Microbiology and Immunology professor Alfredo Torres. 

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious disease specialist at UT Health, says there are still countries where not even one percent of the population has gotten a shot in the arm against COVID. Dr. Ostrosky went on to say that instead of looking at how many people were vaccinated in one specific area, we need to keep a more global point of view.

"We need to think about the population as a whole, so people under 12 can also get coronavirus," Dr. Ostrosky.

The virus will continue to infect even those who are vaccinated. But, typically medical reactions in vaccinated people pale in comparison to a patient needing oxygen or dying in an intensive care unit.

An example the experts gave is with polio and mumps, saying that the reason we practically don't see those diseases anymore is because the vast majority of the population is vaccinated to protect themselves from getting sick with those diseases and the viruses have a hard time finding someone that is actually unprotected.

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