TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Nearly 70% of eligible residents in Travis County have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Austin and county health officials said Friday.
To reach the 70% goal by July 4, Austin Public Health said about 4,000 people need to be vaccinated with at least one dose over the holiday weekend. The total right now stands at 69.62%, according to state data.
“It may be that we are there in the next week or so, that would be with the one dose and with the anticipation that those folks would go and get their second dose,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes.
Additionally, APH said 60.37% of residents are fully vaccinated.
This goal is similar to one set by President Joe Biden in May. He was hoping to have 70% of adults in the country vaccinated by July 4. But White House officials acknowledged in late June they’re probably going to fall short.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has previously estimated 70 to 85% of the country needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Some Texas doctors also believe 70 to 80% of people in the state need to either be vaccinated or have had the virus to reach that level.
Local health leaders said there are still some communities in Travis County that are under 50% vaccinated, and they hope to focus on those residents and communities of color moving forward.
For example, the zip code 78753 in Austin only has a little over 34% of eligible residents who are fully vaccinated as of Monday.
To help vaccinate communities such as these, APH said it shifted its focus from mass vaccination events to community vaccine clinics at churches, grocery stores, neighborhood centers and apartment complexes.
Walkes said it’s still important to remember the pandemic is not over, especially with the threat of the Delta variant.
That variant, which is suspected to spread more quickly, has already been detected in neighboring Williamson County. It is projected to become the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Texas, doctors said.
To fight off this new threat, Walkes advised residents to encourage their family, friends and coworkers to get vaccinated and continue taking precautions if they are not vaccinated.
APH said cases in the county have plateaued over the last few weeks, with about eight new hospital admissions over a seven-day moving average.
APH and the county hope to have 70% of eligible residents fully vaccinated by Labor Day.
“We must keep going,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown in a press release. “As new variants emerge and people continue to test positive for COVID-19, we need to continue vaccinating as many people as possible to ensure broad protections in our community.”
Sign up to get vaccinated
You can find available COVID-19 vaccine appointments online through https://www.vaccines.gov/. You can also text your zip code to 438829 (or 822862 for Spanish) to see where the closest vaccination sites are to you.