On April 11, a quarter of Texans older than 16 have been fully vaccinated, and about 40 percent have received one dose, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Additionally, the state reached a new benchmark by having 20 percent of its entire population, including those 16 and under, fully vaccinated.
Since opening up vaccinations to individuals 16 and older on March 29, counties have ramped up vaccine distribution in efforts to vaccinate communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and to achieve herd immunity, according to The Texas Tribune.
With restrictions on distribution lessening, it expands vaccine eligibility to college students.
As UH gears up for in-person classes in the fall, some students, like biotechnology junior Arash Irandousti, have taken the vaccine in efforts to keep safe.
“I was actually in the first round of vaccines for healthcare workers,” Irandousti said.
“I didn’t feel skeptical as science had progressed immensely in the past 20 years. And as a biotechnology major, vaccines, quality control and proteomics are topics we study and have to understand.”
Although he took it earlier, he applauds the state’s efforts to expand vaccine accessibility.
“I do not find any problems with vaccines opening to those 16 and older,” Irandousti said. “Good work was done to push vaccine development and efficiency, despite the setbacks along the way.”
However, skepticism still weighs on students like health promotion senior Dorothy Menyoli, who finds the recent setbacks by Johnson and Johnson worrisome.
“I was scared and skeptical at first because of how fast it was made,” said Menyoli. “But then I decided to take it, despite the recent reports and commentary of people getting the virus the second time.”
Currently, the percentage of people vaccinated in Texas has increased, with 36 percent of the population receiving at least one dose and 24 percent being fully vaccinated.
Despite the increase, Texas still ranks low in vaccination rates, according to The New York Times.
The low rate stems from the state’s decision to administer doses primarily through its hospital systems, many of which are in urban areas.
In turn, rural and low-income neighborhoods received little outreach and distribution, according to The Houston Chronicle.
In hopes of getting more people vaccinated, the Texas Department of State Health Services will soon launch a scheduler that will allow people to register for shots through eligible public health providers or to notify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS.
Additionally, for those who can’t register online, the state department will launch a toll-free number to accommodate.
To help people, DSHS created a map to show places in Houston offering the vaccine.
In addition to showing where doses are administered, the map also shows the site’s contact information, the number of doses they have left and the link to schedule an appointment.
For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.