SAN ANTONIO – The number of people who received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the week leading up to July 28 was up 72% over the previous week.
The increase in reported vaccinations, which equates to 9,065 more people than the week before, comes as elected and public health officials have been urging unvaccinated residents to get their shots amid a third surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Out of the people eligible to be vaccinated in Bexar County, 63.4% are fully vaccinated, while 76.8% have received at least one dose, according to the latest city statistics.
“So I think for some individuals -- seeing what has happened and seeing the numbers rise has encouraged them to go get vaccinated,” said the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Chief of Epidemiology Rita Espinoza.
However, that 72% increase in week-over-week vaccinations comes with some caveats. The reported addition of 21,679 people to the pool of at least partially vaccinated Bexar County residents on July 28 may appear large compared to the 12,614 doses reported on July 21. However, neither is particularly impressive compared to the nearly 180,000 people who got their first dose in the week after all adults became eligible for the vaccine at the end of March.
Additionally, Espinoza said the numbers are based on when the vaccinations are reported, not necessarily when they occurred.
Though new information on the delta variant indicates it’s as transmissible as chickenpox and may be passed as easily by vaccinated people with breakthrough cases as unvaccinated people, Espinoza says the vaccines still protect against serious illness. So while it doesn’t erase the danger of catching the virus, it drastically reduces the chance you’ll end up in the hospital because of it.
That’s good news for Oletha and Terrell Johnson, who got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a pop-up clinic at San Antonio Prep on the Northeast Side on Friday afternoon.
“I’m glad that we did it at this time, because what I’ve heard in a lot of news, as well as research, is that the people that are fully vaccinated once this new wave come, they may end up getting it still. But they’re not as severe as those that do not have it. And so I’m like, that’s like really great for us, especially with having a baby and that we’re both vaccinated, fully vaccinated, now.” Oletha Johnson said.
Originally, Johnson said, she and her husband had held off on getting vaccinated because they were unsure how it could affect their baby, whom she’s breastfeeding. However, she said her doctor advised her the Pfizer vaccine should be OK, and they got their first doses earlier this month.
TiJa and Larina Mitchell were similarly hesitant when it came to getting their three children vaccinated. They wanted to see how it affected others before they had their kids roll up their sleeves for a dose.
“I didn’t hear a lot of bad things when it came to kids about the shot and the reaction afterwards. So we proceeded to go ahead and get the shot,” TiJa Mitchell said.
With their kids getting their second shots on Friday, they’ll be approaching full vaccination by the time they return to school on Aug. 9.
“I feel really good,” Mitchell said. “I feel really good about them being vaccinated. We haven’t fortunately had a case within our home since we started. So that’s also another good thing for us.”