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Health director: Vaccine hesitancy could prolong COVID-19 pandemic

Health Director: Vaccine hesitancy could prolong COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 7:54 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 23:08:21-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In order to reach 'herd immunity', and essentially end the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nueces County-Corpus Christi Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez says 70 to 80 percent of the population needs to have some level of immunity through vaccines or antibodies from having and recovering from the novel coronavirus.

Currently, only an estimated 15 percent of county residents are fully vaccinated, and there's another troubling estimation at the state level.

Rodriguez said 30 percent of Texans are vaccine hesitant -- unwilling to get their shots -- for a variety of reasons.

She hopes they'll change their minds to avoid an unnecessary consequence.

“If they would reconsider getting vaccinated, that would be great," Rodriguez said. "That would help us a lot. Otherwise, we’re just going to drag this pandemic out longer than we need to."

Possible side effects that can come with the vaccine are one reason some people are putting off getting their doses.

“I don’t have time to miss (work) the next day," Portland resident Marco Campos said. "So I’m hoping to get it in May.”

Others just haven't made the effort to get their shots.

“I do plan on getting it whenever I can,” Del Mar College student Eliza Lopez said.

Whatever the reason for not getting vaccinated, Rodriguez remains hopeful for that change of heart.

Pfizer recently released a study saying its vaccine is good for six months, but it is unclear how long other vaccines will keep someone immune, or how long antibodies in recovered patients last.

"As time goes on, they won’t have immunity," Rodriguez said. "And again, it’s a race against time with people getting vaccinated.”