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Some more rural Coastal Bend counties have higher vaccine rates than more populated counties

Brooks County has the highest rate
Virus Outbreak Vaccine Rates
Posted at 12:01 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 11:19:17-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While the vaccination rate against COVID-19 is going up, some more rural counties with less residents in the Coastal Bend are seeing higher rates than counties with a bigger population.

Christina Rodriguez, a resident of Odem, lost a 35-year-old niece earlier this year and said her niece was pregnant and didn’t have time to get the shot. It’s a shot that could have saved her.

Rodriguez, who has been fully vaccinated since May, said most of her family is vaccinated and so are most of the people she knows in Odem.

"If there's something there that'll make me...keep me alive, I will do it,” Rodriguez said.

About 60 percent of residents of San Patricio County who are 12 and older are fully vaccinated while residents who are 65 and older are about 76% fully vaccinated.

San Patricio Health Authority Dr. James Mobley said he encourages all of his patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine and there is a really big creative push right now in the county to get the younger people vaccinated.

“We have a contest to have school children create a postcard about why the COVID shots are important. We’re going to select the best one and do a bulk mailing to every resident in San Patricio County,” Mobley said.

Brooks County has the highest vaccination rate in the Coastal Bend. Residents ages 12 and older are 70% fully vaccinated while residents 65 and older are at 83% fully vaccinated.

Brooks County Judge Eric Ramos said while they are still the county to have the highest rates, those rates are not going up as quickly as they used to. He said he’s hoping to have everybody in the county who is eligible to get the shot 100% vaccinated to help reach herd immunity. Ramos said he is hoping their vaccination rate will be 80% by February and said their fatality rate could be influencing their high vaccination rates.

“We have a high death rate. We have 47 deaths which is much closer to a 5 percent fatality rate which is above the state and the national level so that really hit hard at home,” Judge Ramos said.

Nueces County is a more populated area, but has lower vaccine rates than San Patricio and Brooks Counties.

Residents 12 and older are 60% fully vaccinated while residents 65 and older are 76% fully vaccinated.

Mary Flint was getting her third shot at the La Palmera mall vaccination clinic because she’s immunocompromised. She said she decided to get the shot to protect herself and those around her.

“It keeps people safe like me who have immune issues who can’t protect themselves as well from viruses,” Flint said.

However, some rural counties still have lower rates than more populated areas. Live Oak County only has around 34% of its residents fully vaccinated.

The Texas Department of State Health and Services provides an interactive tool that tracks vaccination rates throughout Texas.

According to the Texas DSHS, here is how the rest of the Coastal Bend stacks up as of Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.: