The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation announced a 40% drop in its COVID-19 Vulnerability Index for Dallas County from April to the end of May.
The decrease was driven by a 10% increase in vaccinated people, both partial and complete, and a 37% decrease in active cases.
"Thanks to the vaccination programs implemented throughout Dallas County, we continue to see progress in our fight against COVID-19," said Thomas Roderick, PhD, executive in residence at PCCI, in a press release. "Our latest Vulnerability Index report is the most positive yet, with new cases slowing and modest, but important participation in the vaccination program continuing. This progress is a credit to the outstanding efforts of our public health leaders and residents devoted to crushing COVID."
The ZIP codes with the highest Vulnerability Indexes, including 75243, the most vulnerable ZIP code, and 75211, dropped their ratings significantly in the past few months.
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The PCCI's Vulnerability Index identifies communities at risk by examining comorbidity rates including chronic illnesses such as hypertension, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
The index also examined areas with a high density of populations over the age of 65 and increased social deprivation such as lack of access to food, medicine, employment, and transportation.
The PCCI COVID-19 Vulnerability Index can be found on its COVID-19 Hub for Dallas County at https://covid-analytics-pccinnovation.hub.arcgis.com/.
PCCI recently revised its COVID-19 herd immunity forecast, a goal of 80% of residents either having recovered from COVID-19 or received a vaccination, from mid-June to July.
In Texas, the COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of 5. The vaccines are still not approved for children younger than 5 however -- those trials are ongoing.
Once vaccinated, people who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. For those who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- there is only one shot needed.
As of Jan. 3, 2022, it is also recommended those who are age 12 and up and who have been fully vaccinated receive a booster as early as five months after their last dose, for a total of three shots. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech is the only U.S. option for children of any age.
As for even younger children, kid-size doses for 5- to 11-year-olds rolled out in November and experts said healthy youngsters should be protected after their second dose for a while. But the FDA also said on Jan. 3, 2022, that if children that young have severely weakened immune systems, they will be allowed a third dose 28 days after their second. That’s the same third-dose timing already recommended for immune-compromised teens and adults.
Pfizer and Moderna are studying their vaccines, in even smaller doses, for children younger than 5.
Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since none of the vaccines offer 100% protection from infection. With that in mind, even if you've been vaccinated it's still a good idea to wear a mask and keep some separation between strangers or those whose vaccination status is unclear.