Austin health leaders fear we may not reach herd immunity, strongly urge people to get vaccinated

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Health leaders said there are at least half a million people in the Austin-Travis County area still vulnerable to COVID-19.

Austin Public Health said it has fully vaccinated 251,000 people so far but fears that is not enough to get us to herd immunity.

“So again, we’ve got to get vaccinated. I know there were people who didn’t want to be first in line, because they weren’t sure,” said Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott.

Escott urging everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine, saying they have enough shots but just don’t have enough people signing up to get one.

“Even with the J&J concerns, the vaccines are still incredibly safe. All are still safe. The risk of the natural disease is much higher, much more significant and much more long lasting than the complications we are seeing that are very, very rare,” Escott said.

He reported we are only 30% of the way to herd immunity.

“Absolutely we are in a race against time. I know that’s what other doctors have used… but that is what we are facing. If we don’t do this fast enough, the more we will see these variants emerge. The more the virus, the variants interact with vaccinated people, the more we’ll see a variant that emerges that is vaccine resistant,” Escott explained.

APH is hosting trial runs of a walkup COVID-19 vaccination clinic model on Thursday and Friday at the Delco Activity Center to hopefully get more people vaccinated.

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