Officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services will hold "pop-up" events around the state in an effort to stress to families the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine as the beginning of the school year approaches.
According to Texas DSHS, more than 75% of residents 65 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while just 40% of people ages 18-34 and 26% of teens ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated.
Across the state, the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has reached heights not seen since February, but at that time the statistics were trending down. Now they're trending up.
COVID-19 in Texas
"Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are now rising across all age groups. While fewer young people get very sick, they can get and spread the virus, and we are still learning about the long-term effects," DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said in a statement. "Tens of millions of people have been vaccinated with no ill effects. We know these vaccines are not only safe but also very effective. Achieving higher vaccination rates is essential to eliminating the threat of COVID from our communities."
The delta variant of the virus is responsible for most COVID-19 cases in Texas, data shows. It spread more easily and can cause more severe illness, according to DSHS.
The health department will hold the pop-up events at Walmart locations around the state through Aug. 8.