Could the latest COVID-19 surge push up vaccinations in Guadalupe County?

48.8 percent of Guadalupe County resident fully vaccinated; 56.1 percent have at least one dose

Seguin – With the Delta variant pushing a resurgence of COVID-19 around Texas, some vaccine providers are seeing signs that stagnant levels of new vaccinations in Guadalupe County could soon ramp up.

State statistics accessed online on Tuesday showed only 48.8% of residents 12 years or older were fully vaccinated, and 56.1% had received at least one dose. The figures do not include vaccinations administered by federal agencies, like the Department of Veteran Affairs.

A screenshot of the Department of State Health Services vaccine dashboard from Aug. 4. (DSHS)

Guadalupe County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Fire Marshal Patrick Pinder said vaccinations have not been going up significantly.

“Since about June, the beginning of June, we have not seen our percentages increase as much as we’d like to,” he said.

However, Seguin pediatrician Dr. Robert Stephens does expect numbers to start rising more quickly as the latest surge in cases prompts people on the fence to roll up their sleeves.

Stephens’ practice had originally provided the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to adults when it became available, but then switched to the Pfizer vaccine when it was authorized for children as young as 12.

“I think to date we have immunized probably about somewhere between 40 and 60 people,” he said of his practice’s use of the Pfizer vaccine, “but we’ve got almost that many on the schedule now, just starting between this week and next week when we’ll be doing it.”

Stephens said he offers vaccinations to his patients’ adult family members, too. Stephens said he had begun warning his patients of the coming surge two to three weeks ago. Now that it’s here, so are the vaccination requests.

I think people are very frightened and rightfully so about the Delta variant because it’s really been kind of scary to watch. And then that is coupled with the fact that schools are going to be starting in two weeks,” he said.

“We know there are people who are not going to get this vaccine. But I think there are a lot of people who are on the fence, and I’ve talked to a couple of them this week, and who are - who say, ‘You know, I was really hesitant, but this has really got me scared and I want to do it.’”

At Seguin Pharmacy, which offers the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, owner Merlin Tchawa Yinga said he has also seen renewed interest in the vaccine.

Early on when demand was high, there may have been 20 people a day coming in for a vaccine. That demand dried up, though, and there were days when he’d see no one.

In roughly the past two weeks, though, Tchawa Yinga said he sees about five people a day coming in to be vaccinated.

He chalks it up mainly to “people getting more conscious about the danger, the threat of the COVID, people gaining more informed about the new variant in general.”

Guadalupe County plans to hold several vaccination next week, though Pinder’s pitch is much less insistent than the approach officials in neighboring Bexar County have been taking.

“It is an individual’s choice to get vaccinated,” Pinder said. “Unlike some of our surrounding communities, you know, we’re not trying to push that on to people. We want to make sure that the individual themselves - or their families - that want the vaccine, they can -they have that right.”

Information on the Guadalupe County vaccine clinics is below:

Guadalupe County and the National Guard are providing three vaccination clinics next week for interested residents.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.