Is the ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’ Hitting Dallas County?

The number of vaccines given has been going down for months, and less than half of the state is fully vaccinated.
The number of vaccines given has been going down for months, and less than half of the state is fully vaccinated. SELF Magazine
When the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County hit 300 and suspected cases tacked on another 106 on Monday, it marked a sad milestone: the highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day since March.

Dallas County has given out nearly half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since it became available, but the new Delta variant is now fueling another uptick in cases as vaccine distribution slows down.

As the opportunity to get the jab became more widely available, demand for the vaccine in Texas began to sink as early as April, the Texas Tribune reported at the time.

“This is our highest one-day total of new cases since early March and reflects the trends we’re seeing with increasing hospitalizations and the consequences of the Delta variant,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press release on Monday. “If you still haven’t been vaccinated, please know the vaccine is safe and effective.”

Jenkins added, “Many places no longer require an appointment or pre-registration. Get a vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

Still, for vaccine advocates, the odds aren’t looking good at the moment. Across Texas, less than half of the state’s residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

"Get a vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your community." - Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

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It probably won’t surprise you to know that communities with the quickest growing number of new cases are also those with comparably low vaccine rates.

On Friday, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the coronavirus has quickly “become the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are once again on the rise across the country, with the vast majority of those hit by the disease unvaccinated, CNN reported on Monday. Of those who have died, some 99.5% were unvaccinated, while 97% of those hospitalized haven’t gotten the jab.

In Texas, the coronavirus positivity rate has again topped 10%, a number that Gov. Greg Abbott once considered a red flag.

The news comes less than two weeks after the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation announced that Dallas County had reached herd immunity, a declaration that quickly prompted criticism from other public health authorities and experts.

“I’m really shocked that there’s even a statement made that we have herd immunity," Dr. Erin Carlson, an associate clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at the University of Texas at Arlington, told the Observer at the time. "We don’t. It’s just a scientific fact." 
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Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.