As Omicron Cases Recede, Dallas County Continues Push for Increased Vaccination Rates

Among those people aged 18 and up, 64% have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from Dallas County Health and Human Services

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Coming out of a deep freeze into one of the nicest weather days, perhaps sitting in your car for a vaccine is not on high on your to-do list.

The clinic at Dallas College - Eastfield campus in Mesquite is one of two locations Dallas County Health and Human Services operated on Sunday in a continued effort to increase the rate of vaccination.

Doctor Marcial Oquendo is a Dallas-based pediatrician and says North Texas may be close to viewing COVID-19 through an endemic lens, with more predictable rates and spread of disease.

“After big spikes, there is the period of calm," Oquendo said. "There’s lots of reason for optimism."

While omicron spread in Dallas County is still high, it is coming down, slowly.  Dallas County HHS reported about 1,800 daily cases one week ago.  By Friday, the daily case count was closer to 1,100.

And while omicron has shown us that anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can get infected, new data from the CDC shows the gap in outcomes in the most serious cases continues to widen.

Even with the generally less severe omicron variant, data the CDC examined from Los Angeles County from early November to early January found an unvaccinated individual was 23-times more likely to end up hospitalized compared to someone fully vaccinated and boosted.

Right now, Dallas County data does not include those boosted, but 64% of people aged 18 and over have received two doses.

Oquendo says he explains to families daily how a safe and effective vaccine can protect against the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

And why he hopes, as omicron cases slowly recede, more of us will continue to seek out a vaccine and booster, even if the demand for drive-thru vaccination clinics wanes as well.

“The more options that we have the better - when or how to receive this vaccine,” Oquendo said.

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