By Ashley Moss
As Dallas County continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases—an additional 1,570 positive cases were reported on January 4th—Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson showed support for the newly-available coronavirus vaccine, by taking it.
“Today, at the request of the attending physician to ensure the continuity of government, I received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said, in a statement Monday. “It’s critical that we expand the availability of this long-awaited, exceptionally safe vaccine to frontline workers and in our communities.”
Texas became the first in the United States to record more than one million confirmed COVID-19 cases and communities of color continue to be disproportionately impacted by the spread of the disease.
In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Study from November focused on hospitalization and death rates, data showed that Black Americans were almost three times more likely to die after contracting the virus than other ethnic groups; due in part to a variety of factors, including higher rates among patients with various comorbidities or other pre-existing conditions and more barriers in accessing medical care and testing.
While data reported by the Pew Research Center reported in December indicated an increased confidence in the vaccine, communities of color still have many questions and concerns.
A study conducted by Blackdoctor.org showed that while nearly nine million Blacks are now receptive to taking the COVID-19 vaccine, there is still vast mistrust for immunizations. More than 13 million Black Americans have indicated that they will not receive the vaccine.
The vaccine is available in limited supply, with doses being made available first to front-line healthcare workers and other public safety officials, residents of a long-term care facilities, people 65 years of age and older and people 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
Once more treatment is released, area health officials said they will work through an ongoing registration list to determine who will be eligible next.
To register, residents can go here. Currently, only people who fall into the aforementioned categories are eligible.
“We hope to receive additional allocations from the state soon so that we can continue to work with our partners and begin to meet the needs of our community and turn the corner in the fight against the virus,” said Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services in a prepared statement from the County.
“All providers that have received COVID-19 vaccine must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65, and people with medical conditions that put them at a greater risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19. No vaccine should be kept in reserve,” added Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt.
While confident in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, Congresswoman Johnson implored Texans to make every effort to remain safe during the current public health crisis.
“We know that as a nation, this coronavirus pandemic has interrupted and impeded almost every facet of normal life,” she said in a previously prepared statement. “We must make sure that we do not endanger vulnerable members of our communities—including our seniors, young children, and those who are predisposed to contracting COVID—with inadvertent exposure to this virus.”