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Health leaders making stronger push to get younger Texans vaccinated

Health leaders say the state needs more people between the ages of 12 and 34 to get vaccinated in order to combat the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

TEXAS, USA — When the COVID-19 vaccine rollout first started, the focus was on getting our older Texans vaccinated. But now, the push is to get young people to get the shot, especially with the delta variant of now accounting for most of the new cases in Texas.

"It just spreads so much more easily that it's going to take a lot more people being vaccinated to get cases to come down, to protect people and to keep people from ending up in the hospital and dying,” explained Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Data from DSHS shows 75% of people 65 and older are now fully vaccinated, compared to only 40% of people ages 18 to 34, and just 26% of people ages 12 to 17.

“We’re seeing this delta variant really take off in unvaccinated populations, and that includes younger people,” shared Van Deusen. “And while they are not as likely to get really, really, seriously ill if they get sick, it can still happen. You know, we have seen young people die. Young people end up in the hospital having to fight for weeks at a time."

Through the first week of August, DSHS is holding 18 pop-up events at Walmart stores across the state. The goal is to talk with parents and families about the importance of getting younger people vaccinated as they prepare for the school year.

"Well, the more children that are protected in school, the safer those schools are going to be for everybody who is there,” said Van Deusen. “You know, there is still a population who is not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Of course, kids under 12-years-old."

Van Deusen said vaccine trials for kids under 12-years-old are happening now, and they hope to have more news on the findings in a couple of months.

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