Covid-19

El Paso About To Achieve Herd Immunity?

The Texas Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard shows that 43.21% of the Texas population is now fully vaccinated against Covid, as of this morning. To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual must have received one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) or the two required doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at least two weeks before being considered vaccinated. The Pfizer is 95% effective at preventing an infection and the Moderna is 94% effective. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective.

All three version of the vaccine are used in El Paso.

According to the Mayo Clinic, herd immunity “occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune” to the disease. The percentage of herd immunity is determined by the infection potential of the disease. For example, measles is highly contagious and thus requires a herd immunity of 94%.

For Covid-19, the threshold for herd immunity is unknown, however health experts believe that 70% of the population that has had Covid-19 or is vaccinated would can achieve herd immunity in a community.

El Paso Close To Herd Immunity

As of this morning, the Texas Health and Human Services dashboard shows that almost 70% (69.9%) of the El Paso County population that is 12 years or older has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Almost 56% (55.71%) of the El Paso County population is now vaccinated, according to the State of Texas. The 65 and over population in El Paso is 82% (82.34%) vaccinated.

That is higher than Texas’ fully vaccinated rate of 43% (43.21).

Vaccination Key Points

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals that are fully vaccinated can skip wearing masks and stop socially distancing as approved by local laws. Also, vaccinated residents may skip travel restrictions including testing before and after travel.

The Juárez Conundrum

According to the United States Embassy, travel restrictions to non-essential travel over the land borders between México and the United States are expected to remain closed until at least June 21, 2021. However, essential travel through the border is open to U.S. citizens, residents and foreigners engaged in cross-border trade like truckers.

Cd. Juárez vaccination programs are about four months behind El Paso.

The Chihuahua Governor’s office announced on June 1 that 953,670 Chihuahua residents have received full doses of the vaccine. Chihuahua is targeting those 60 years and older in addition to medical professionals currently.

Less than 20% of the Mexican population has received the first vaccine dose as of yesterday. Only about 10% of the Mexican population is currently considered fully vaccinated.

It is unclear what percentage of the Juárez population is now vaccinated because of the lack of data at the municipality level and the fluidity of the U.S.-México border where an unknown number of Texas vaccines have been administered to Mexican residents crossing the border for the vaccine.

How the proposed reopening of the border and Mexico’s vaccine access over the next weeks will mean to El Paso’s herd immunity remains unknown.

El Paso Politics will continue to monitor this issue and report as more information becomes available.

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