‘Nobody’s coming to get them’: Health officials say vaccines are going to waste as COVID hospitalizations continue to rise

Fourth wave in the Houston area
Fourth wave in the Houston area

HOUSTON – It’s been two weeks since July 4, and typically with COVID, two to three weeks after people gather for celebrations marks the time that the virus increases, and it’s proving to be true again.

As we see a rise in COVID across the country, doctors say the increased social activities, partnered with decreased health precautions, are to blame.

There has also been less testing recently which makes it difficult for anyone to know exactly how much of the virus is floating around. President and CEO of the Texas Medical Center, Bill Mckeon, said Tuesday in a press briefing that TMC went from 4,000 tests per week to 1,000.

Hospitalizations statewide are at 3,566, which is up higher than they were in March when vaccines were first eligible for the entire population. However, most of the current hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.

“A 19-year-old told me his father told him that he shouldn’t get it. A 23-year-old told me, ‘I didn’t have time to get it,’” Dr. Joseph Varon from United Memorial Medical Center said his hospitalized patients are telling him. “Another one told me, ‘I don’t know which one to get.’ I mean, it’s like, what in the world is going on?”

If you are debating which one to get, here’s a look at the percentage of people with breakthrough infections divided by vaccines as of July 16.

According to the City of Houston Health Department:

o Johnson & Johnson: 0.110%

o Pfizer: at 0.071%

o Moderna: 0.045%

“Only 960 Houstonians tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. The very low breakthrough rate of 0.066% continues to demonstrate the high effectiveness of vaccination,” the Houston Health Department said.

However, Dr. Joseph Varon said there are vaccines at UMMC that will go to waste.

“I have thousands of vaccines that are about to go bad in my hospital because nobody’s coming to get them, I mean there are very few people that get or are wanting to be vaccinated,” Dr. Varon said.

Health experts agree there should be fewer deaths during this wave than we saw last year because a large percentage of the vulnerable population is fully vaccinated.