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COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts have made access easier for vulnerable residents, Harris Co. judge says



PLANO, TX – New demographic data shows Harris County is outpacing other COVID-19 vaccine providers among vulnerable populations, according to county officials.

The data from the Harris County Public Health Department and ImmTrac Texas Immunization Registry shows vaccines are reaching a higher proportion of vulnerable people, but Black and Hispanic populations are getting vaccines at lower rates, according to a statement from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office.

“17.5% of people administered with at least one dose by HCPH have been Black / African American residents as compared to only 9.8% by other providers,” officials said. “31.1% of people administered with at least one dose by HCPH have been Hispanic / Latino residents, compared to only 19.9% by other providers. The overall percentage of Black residents in Harris County is 18.7% and Hispanic residents make up 43.3% of the population.”

Hidalgo is scheduled to address the new data in a briefing at 1 p.m.

“The fastest and fairest way for Harris County to emerge from this crisis is by ensuring that everyone does their part to make sure everyone has access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. It’s not a mystery to anyone which populations and parts of our county have been hit hardest by this pandemic,” Hidalgo said in a statement. “Every organization that administers vaccines has a moral responsibility to make sure they’re working to provide access through efficiency, equity, and fairness.”


Efforts to increase vaccine participation have been guided by a v accine equity strategy implemented by the county last month . The strategy outlines outreach, allocation and registration procedures for health officials.

As counties like Harris continue to rollout more doses, the state of Texas is launching a toll free number for Texans without internet access. If you are over 80 years old, the state is now directing all providers to allow you to walk up and get a shot without an appointment.

“We would anticipate it would probably be May, before you can go to our website, click and find a slot,” said Roberta Schwartz, the executive vice president of Houston Methodist, the area’s largest vaccine hub provider. “We anticipate [until then] we’re still reaching out to people on our list.”

State data shows more than 6 million Texans have had their first dose and more than 3 million Texans are fully vaccinated. However, the supply of vaccines is not expected to exceed the demand for at least another month.