HOUSTON — It’s the start of spring, and just as health officials have predicted, COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widespread. But some areas in Harris County are still lacking.
Let’s start with the good news: Houston Health Department says 30.8% of all Houstonians are fully vaccinated, including 90.1% of those over the age of 60.
But which parts of Harris County are the most vaccinated?
To find out, we’re breaking it down by ZIP codes using information from the state and only looking at people over 18. What we found is the ZIP codes in green have the highest rates of vaccinations, some around 50%. That includes people in Bellaire, West University and Memorial.
But the bad news? Some ZIP codes only have a fraction of that. Those are in gray. You can see that’s mostly on the county’s northside, the Greenspoint, Aldine and Westfield areas. Some of those ZIP codes have only 11% to 12% of people vaccinated.
“There’s a lot of folks who don’t have access to the internet or they’re older. They’re not familiar with the latest technology," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo said the disparity is something her office has been fighting since the vaccine started being rolled out.
“We’ve taken the vaccine to group homes, congregate settings where folks have limited mobility," Hidalgo said.
She said the county has mobile vaccination units and has launched media campaigns targeting the communities. On the county’s vaccine waitlist, they’ve identified 25 ZIP codes hardest hit by COVID that will be prioritized.
“And who have higher social vulnerability index per the CDC. That means they don’t have health insurance for example, so less likely to have the vaccine," Hidalgo said.
But it’s a battle, she says, they can’t fight on their own.
“We need to make sure that every provider is being transparent, has multiple access points, not just online, but phone. That they have these kinds of waitlist. It’s not first come first serve," Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo said one way you can help is that if you know someone who lives in the ZIP codes to reach out to them and help get them registered.