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El Paso’s COVID-19 vaccine progress will slow this week

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The state’s distribution system will slow El Paso’s COVID-19 vaccination progress this week. The slowdown comes as El Paso continues to lead the state’s urban counties in immunizing its population.

As the vaccines roll out, El Paso’s new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are inching down. 

Here’s our weekly COVID-19 data report.

Vaccinations

El Paso’s COVID-19 vaccination will hit a roadblock this week as the state sends fewer doses. El Paso County is scheduled receive fewer than 13,000 first doses this week, after two weeks of getting more than 15,000 such doses.

University Medical Center had to postpone second doses scheduled for this week because it didn’t receive enough vaccine.

UMC also did not open registration for vaccines over the weekend. The hospital hasn’t said if it will have a registration for people 75 and older, as it did last week.

The Texas Department of State Health Services hasn’t yet responded to an El Paso Matters request for an explanation of why no Moderna vaccine was sent to UMC this week.

UMC said it would reschedule the postponed second doses as soon as possible. Hospital officials stressed that the second dose is effective if given within six weeks of the first dose.

El Paso County continues to vaccinate more of its population than other urban Texas counties. 

As of Sunday, more than 107,000 El Pasoans have received at least one vaccine dose. That’s more than one in six residents age 16 and older. Almost 48,000 — about one in every 14 El Pasoans in the age group for which the vaccines are approved — have received both doses.

The state estimates that about 394,000 qualify under Phases 1A and 1B, meaning they’re currently eligible to receive the vaccine. That includes frontline health-care workers, people in long-term care facilities, people over 65, and people 16-64 with health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. About 27% of that population has received at least one vaccine dose and about 12% have received both doses.

New cases

Fewer than 3,000 new COVID-19 infections were reported in El Paso for the second consecutive week. That is still a high level of community spread, so El Paso remains at elevated risk from the novel coronavirus.

Hospitalizations

The number of people with COVID-19 requiring treatment in hospitals and intensive care units continues to decline. 

Deaths

The number of El Pasoans dying of COVID-19 last week fell to the lowest level since October.

This story has been updated with vaccination data through Sunday, Feb. 14.

Correction: The vaccine shipments reported each week by the state only include first doses. An earlier version of this story confused first and second doses. This story has been updated to reflect that.

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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