High death rates elsewhere in the country have not necessarily translated into high vaccination rates.
In Greenville County, South Carolina, where at least one in 508 residents has died, about 40% of eligible people have been fully immunized. In the parish of East Feliciana, Louisiana, where one in 168 people have died, about 29% of the eligible population is fully immunized. And in San Bernardino County, California, where one in 455 has died, only 43% of eligible residents are fully immunized.
In the Rio Grande Valley, vaccines are part of the regional fabric, said Dr Prot. Parents understand that their children need to be vaccinated against diseases like measles and polio before they start school, and this feeling is often reflected in adults. She said she has seen patients complaining of upper respiratory disease choosing an injection over a pill, which many people here find less effective.
“In Hispanic and Mexican culture it’s always, ‘Okay, you have to get the vaccine to go to school,’” she said. “It’s part of the culture they need to get vaccinated. “
A recent poll supports this idea: According to an NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist survey of 1,227 adults in early March, 63% of Latinos who participated said they were planning to get the vaccine or had already received it. (But the number of those who expressed hesitation – 37% – was slightly higher than that of black and white respondents.)
While the country as a whole is unable to meet President Biden’s target of at least partially vaccinating 70% of adults by July 4, the Rio Grande Valley is approaching that threshold.
In Hidalgo County, where one in 308 residents have died from the coronavirus, and in neighboring Cameron County, where one in 252 residents has died, about 60% of eligible people have been fully vaccinated, according to Department of the Department data. state health and a New York Times tracker. In County Starr, a predominantly rural area with a single, one-story hospital where one in 213 has died, that figure is around 70%.