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Nearly all patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Austin are unvaccinated, report says


Although to some it may feel as though COVID-19 is on the back burner, hospitalizations for the virus are still ongoing, with unvaccinated patients accounting for nearly all occupancy.

In a report from KXAN, Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes revealed that more than 90% of patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

As of Friday evening, 89 people are hospitalized for the virus in the county. At least 80 of them are unvaccinated, and more than 40% of the patients are under the age of 50, according to the City of Austin.

According to a report from WFAA, 99% of new COVID-19 hospital admissions are unvaccinated across Texas. Some doctors are calling it an "in-between" period in which the virus is going from a global threat to a routine, preventable disease.

"Existing vaccinations are still more than 90% effective in keeping individuals safe," Interim APH Director Adrienne Sturrup said in a July 2 release. "It is more important than ever to have these discussions around vaccinations and why they are so important for families and our community in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Just over 70% of Travis County residents over the age of 12 have received one dose of the vaccine and 60% are fully vaccinated. Austin Public Health is still working toward a milestone of having 70% of people fully vaccinated by Labor Day.

More than seven months into the vaccination effort, APH said vaccination rates are beginning to plateau, causing a shift in vaccine outreach. Currently, APH is focusing on "pockets" that have been reluctant to get vaccinated and areas of systemic inequality, working with the Central Texas Food Bank to create pop-up vaccination clinics at community grocery stores, churches, neighborhood centers and apartment complexes.

"What we're finding anecdotally is that people like to be met on their own terms," an APH spokesperson said. "We are intensifying outreach within neighborhoods, working with our community partners such as the Capital Food Bank. People can pick up groceries, personal protective equipment, see their neighbors and get vaccinated at the same event. These have been well received in neighborhoods including Blackland and Zaragoza, areas where historic disparities continue to exist, especially for communities of color."

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