Texas expanding vaccine eligibility
With the Department of State Health Services announcing an expansion in the people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, a local health official said the public is getting close to something that earlier had seemed impossible.
Beginning Monday, March 15, people who are 50 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. People in that age group have been hit hard by the disease as hospitalization numbers show a majority of COVID victims have been within that age group.
According to DSHS, more than 93% of Texas fatalities directly caused by the coronavirus have been in people 50 and older. By including this most vulnerable group, Texas will see a significant drop in number of hospitalizations and death from the disease.
"Basically what this means is that it expands the group at the greatest risk of severe complications from COVID," Starr County Health Authority Dr. Antonio Falcon said. “So it is something that is actually very good for us at this point in time that we've expanded the group of individuals that are eligible for the vaccine."
The combination of COVID vaccines becoming available faster and the expansion of the groups eligible for the vaccine will get the public to a very important point, Dr. Falcon said.
"I think in the next eight to 10 weeks we're going to be very close to that magic herd immunity number,” Dr. Falcon said. “The number of people that would be vaccinated by that time should be very significant.”
There are about 5 million Texans between the ages 50 and 64. According to DSHS, more than 1 million of them have already been vaccinated.