Texas Health officials say only 43 of the nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state since February were vaccinated patients. Officials report that 99.5 percent of the COVID-19 Texas deaths were unvaccinated patients.

Texas Health officials say only 43 of the nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state since February were vaccinated patients. Officials report that 99.5 percent of the COVID-19 Texas deaths were unvaccinated patients.

Texas Health officials say only 43 of the nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state since February were vaccinated patients. Officials report that 99.5 percent of the COVID-19 Texas deaths were unvaccinated patients.

Texas Department of State Health Services reported that 8,787 people died from COVID-19 across the state since February, the Texas Tribune reported. Of those, only 43 of the deaths occurred in people who were fully vaccinated.

Of the 43 vaccinated patient deaths, 75 percent were suffering a serious underlying condition. Those conditions include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or chronic lung disease. Ninety-five percent of the deaths of vaccinated people occurred in patients over the age of 60 — mostly white, and mostly men, the report states.

State health officials caution these are preliminary numbers and more research is carried out.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Dr. David Lakey, the chief medical officer of the University of Texas System, said people succumbing to the coronavirus despite being vaccinated was “not unexpected.”

“No vaccine is 100%,” said Lakey, who is also a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 task force. “And we’ve known for a long while that the vaccines aren’t 100%, but they’re really really good at preventing severe disease and hospitalizations. … There will always be some individuals that will succumb to the illness in the absence of full herd immunity.”

He added that 0.5% is “a very low number of individuals in a state of 30 million. … In the grand perspective of everything, that’s not a large number that would call into question at all the use of this vaccine.”

Officials report COVID-19 cases in Texas, and across the nation, have been surging in recent weeks due to the highly contagious delta variant. However, researchers say that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing symptomatic cases caused by the delta variant. It is also said to be 96 percent effective in preventing cases leading to hospitalization.

Researchers also say the Moderna vaccine has similar efficacy rates against the delta variant.

Earlier this week, officials reported that 42.8 percent of Texans have been fully vaccinated. This vaccination rate lags slightly behind the national average vaccination rate of 48.8 percent.

Travis County Health Authority’s Dr. Desmar Walkes told local government officials that almost all new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the area are in non-vaccinated patients, the Texas Tribune article states.

“It’s not surprising that we have [increasing COVID-19] cases,” Lakey said. “This delta variant spreads very rapidly among individuals, and there’s only some of these individuals who have been vaccinated, and a small number of those will have severe disease. But the vast majority of the people that have severe disease will be the unvaccinated individuals.”

Bob Price