The number of Texans who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has climbed to about 37%, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
Doctors said that's an encouraging number and urged more people to get vaccinated. But there's a light being focused on children under 17 as more kids continue to catch the virus.
"What we’ve consistently seen throughout this pandemic is that the 0-17-year-old age bracket actually has risen in proportionality the entire time to a high of almost 17% of all COVID-19 cases today and this month," Parkland Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang said.
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He said at the start of the pandemic, kids made up less than 2% of those who tested positive.
“Even though we know kids do OK with COVID-19, for the most part, that’s not all of them, some of them have some real complications, but actually more complicating than that is our young folks bring it home, not only to spread it with each other, but they spread it with the rest of the family," Chang said.
He said he thought extra curricular activities played a role.
“I think it’s really all the activities surrounding youth, whether that’s sports, choir any of those type of thing with kids gathering, and it’s not even so much the activity themselves, it’s all of the spectators that surround that," Chang said.
The Parkland-run vaccination site at Ellis Davis Field House is now open to anyone without an appointment. That's where 16-year-old Valeria Leon received her first dose of the vaccine alongside her mom.
“I think everybody should get the vaccine, you know," Leon said. "My family got it and everything seemed fine and everything seemed OK, so I’m getting it because I don’t want no COVID or anything.”
Sixteen-year-olds and 17-year-olds must have a parent or legal guardian with them to receive a vaccine. Immunization is not available for those 15 and younger.
“Vaccines are now cleared for 16 and those older, please get your teenagers vaccinated," Chang said. "We’re coming closer to when the vaccines will be approved for 12 and older and when that’s the case, I’m going to encourage everyone 12 and older to get the vaccine. This is the way out, this is how we protect each other. It is safe. It is effective.”
Ellis Davis Field House, at 9191 S. Polk St., began to offer vaccines without an appointment last week.
Those without an appointment can get a shot between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The site is closed on Sunday.
People can still register in advance. For more information visit, Parkland Hospital's COVID-19 resource.