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Will El Paso County make the 70% vaccination goal by July 4? Experts say probably not

(WBRC)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 3:08 PM MDT
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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) -We are about one month out from the President’s goal of having more than 70 percent of the eligible population vaccinated by July 4th.

But according to local health experts, that probably is not going to happen in El Paso County.

Right now in El Paso County, 56 percent of eligible people have received at least one vaccine, while 48 percent are fully immunized against COVID-19. Both of those percentages are when you factor in federal estimates.

For comparison, 12 Colorado counties have already passed the 70 percent goal. They are: Jefferson, Denver, Broomfield, Boulder, Routt, Eagle, Pitkin, Gunnison, Mineral, Summit, San Miguel, and San Juan.

“So if we look at the most populated counties, We’re one of the laggers in vaccination, and we don’t want to be one of the laggers because viruses are a lot like water, water leaking finds that place with the most vulnerable, susceptible hosts,” Stephen Goodwin, El Paso County Public Health Chief Data Scientific Strategist said. “Well, we don’t want to be that place.”

These numbers don’t sound great, but experts say they are also not surprising considering the county has some of the higher incidence rates when comparing it to Colorado’s other large counties.

“We’re seeing that vaccines work, but places that have lower percentages of being vaccinated, have higher incidents. We’re seeing an age shift in those that have a higher percentage of being vaccinated,” Fadi Youkhana, an epidemiologist for the El Paso County Health Department said. “The hospitalizations are shifting younger. So the vaccines are working and that’s perhaps the strongest pitch for vaccinations is that they work incredibly well against this virus”

As restrictions loosen, experts say the unvaccinated are more at risk.

“The other thing to remember is that those who are unvaccinated are at increased risk because the behaviors now, the masks are falling away, activities are increasing,” Goodwin said. “So if you’re a virus, that means more exposure opportunity. And if you’re unvaccinated, you’re at increased risk.”

Experts say those who want a vaccine can pick which one they want, and there are numerous places to get them throughout the county.

Click here for more information on how to get a vaccine near you.

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