Researchers announced Thursday that though Dallas County is steadily beating back COVID-19, declaring victory could take longer than they first thought.
Like much of the country, vaccination rates have dropped off in North Texas even as kids between the ages of 12 and 15 become eligible for Pfizer.
The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation said the weekly average for first doses has dropped below 15,000 a week.
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To date, just over 1,000,000 people in Dallas County have been vaccinated.
798,775 have received both doses.
That’s about 40% of the entire population.
Because of that, it’s shifting its projection for herd immunity back a month, saying Dallas County likely won’t reach the target 80% until late July.
While last week’s update to the CDC guidelines has allowed those who are fully vaccinated to ditch their masks and social distancing in many situations, PCCI’s President and CEO Steve Miff said reaching herd immunity is still a crucial milestone for the community.
"When we reach that threshold, it minimizes the virus' opportunity to spread and when and if people continue to get affected. And by doing that and continuing to have broadened immunity, it eventually squashes COVID,” said Miff.
This week, there was some good news as new data from U.T. Southwestern suggested nearly half of county residents have had the virus and recovered, which is more than initially thought.
With the addition of those who are fully vaccinated, Miff said that brings the county’s current immunity rate to 74%, just shy of the target.
26 zip codes in the county have reached that goal.
Now, Miff said the focus turns to pockets of the community where vaccination rates remain disproportionately low.
"We're so close. We're almost there. So when we have our friends, our neighbors participate, we're going to reach that goal and actually exceed it,” said Miff.
Parkland is working alongside Dallas County and the City of Dallas to bring vaccination clinics to high-risk neighborhoods.