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McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that he’s hoping to increase the number of Texans getting COVID-19 vaccines after seeing a drop in people showing up for the shot.
“We’re beginning to see a decrease in demand for vaccinations,” Abbott said at a news conference Thursday in border city of McAllen. “We’re having about half — or even less than half — of the people who signed up for a vaccine actually show up to get a vaccine.”
He said that a state program that focusing on getting seniors vaccinated is expanding from rural areas to more populated ones, like Hidalgo County where McAllen is located. Through the program, drive-thru vaccine clinics are set up or vaccines are given directly to homebound seniors.
“Seniors who contract COVID are the people who are most likely to either be hospitalized or lose their life because of COVID,” Abbott said.
He said that the significant number of seniors who are already vaccinated has led to an ongoing downward trend in the number of hospitalized people in the state.
“We will continue those good results if everyone will get in line and get their COVID shots,” he said.
On Thursday, the state reported that 3,410 people were hospitalized. That number has been falling since soaring past 14,000 for a couple of days in January.
On Monday, Texas expands its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults. Abbott said Thursday that in order to encourage those 80 and older who still aren’t vaccinated to do so, they will be allowed to show up anywhere shots are given and get one, even without making an appointment.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Texas has decreased by 1,511.6, a decrease of 30.6%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.3 million Texans have completed their vaccinations. That’s about 11.5 percent of the state’s population.