As COVID-19 cases fall and risk levels fall in Bexar County, many who are eligible for booster vaccines have not yet received one.
As of Friday, the county’s risk was classified as low, as cases continue to trend downward and positivity rates fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also classified Bexar County’s risk as low.
Due to the low level of risk, the CDC has decided to wear a mask as an option and recommends keeping up to date with vaccines.
Texas Health and Human Services reports that 6,358,473 residents have received a booster dose, while 17,315,620 people have been fully vaccinated and 20,483,108 have received one dose.
Locally, Metropolitan Health District COVID-19 weekly magazine vaccination report says only 34.3% of the population aged 12 and over have received a booster dose in Bexar County.
Dr. Bryan Alsip, chief physician at University Health, said booster shots are still crucial and that about 80% of patients admitted for the virus are unvaccinated.
“The cases that are reduced are a significant factor in people’s perspective in relation to whether they have needs [a booster] and that’s one of the reasons why I think we’ve seen fewer and fewer people seek out boosters, ”Alsip said.
Others feel they do not need it because they are not at high risk of getting the virus, he added.
That decline in interest in vaccines is what recently triggered closures of one of San Antonio’s first and largest vaccination sites and a testing facility this month.
Alsip said one recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine validated early data on the importance of having a booster dose.
“This booster dose can provide a real extra protection against future variants. We do not yet know how much before it happens or if it does. It’s probably another reason to consider getting a booster if you have not already done so. , ”Said Alsip.
Attempts to encourage people to be vaccinated have continued for several months. In September 2021, a $ 1 million purchase of 10,000 HEB gift cards worth $ 100 each was approved by the City Council as a financial incentive for those who received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one J&J vaccine at . Metro Health vaccine events.
Metro Health has been handing out 9,026 gift cards since the giveaway began, and 974 are yet to be distributed.
“The number of people applying for a vaccine has dropped and interest (for those who want a vaccine) remains for the gift card,” said Cleo Garcia, public health officer for Metro Health. “As you can see from the latest vaccination data, most people who have wanted to get a vaccine have received it. We encourage individuals to get their booster shots.”