A Texas City Becomes First in the State to Reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity
According to a news release published on Monday, September 20, El Paso becomes the first city in Texas to reach herd immunity against COVID-19.
El Paso officials have a new key goal in the fight against COVID-19: ensuring that people 65 years old and older, as well as people with chronic diseases, receive booster shots.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said during a news conference Monday that those two groups are being prioritized for booster shots.
Officials earlier had said that more than 75% of El Pasoans 12 years old and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, achieving herd immunity.
“El Paso is the first city in Texas to reach 75 percent fully vaccinated,” El Paso Assistant fire chief and Emergency Management Coordinator, Jorge Rodriguez said during the press conference.
Despite the milestone, the local mask mandate is still in effect, officials said. Samaniego said the order is the longest-standing mandate since health officials challenged Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning mask mandates for local governments.
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Local officials continue encouraging the community to get vaccinated if they have not yet. The mayor said it’s important for younger children to get vaccinated as well after Pfizer-BioNTech announced trials show it’s safe for children ages five to 11 years old to receive the vaccine.
“It’s important that we advocate for the booster,” Leeser said, adding that he wants to see vaccinations for younger children soon. “Hopefully, we’re going to see that the vaccine will be available in the very near future for children.”
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must first approve its use for children, but government officials say they will quickly review the data.
The announcement comes more than a month after schools opened up their doors for children to return to in-person learning, amid community spread of the highly infectious coronavirus delta variant.