PCCI Reports Updates on County’s Herd Immunity Goal

From April to the end of May, the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation’s COVID-19 Vulnerability Index recorded a 40% drop in average vulnerability.

PCCI’s Vulnerability Index identifies at-risk communities by examining multiple factors like comorbidity rates, areas densely populated with people over the age of 65, and social challenges. To identify a vulnerability index value, PCCI combines these factors with dynamic mobility rates and confirmed COVID-19 cases to scale the index value to its peak value in July 2020.

The drop is attributed to a 10% increase in vaccinations and a 37% decrease in active COVID-19 cases.  The increase in vaccinations has caused many vulnerable zip codes to decrease their Vulnerability Index rating.  Most notably, zip code 75243, which was ranked the most vulnerable on the Index, decreased their rating by 61% since April. Other vulnerable zip codes on the Index, while still ranked high, have seen improvement: zip code 75211, which encompasses Cockrell Hill and Oak Cliff, has decreased its rating from 196.9 in January to 9.63 in May.

PHOTO: Courtesy Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

“Thanks to the vaccination programs implemented throughout Dallas County, we continue to see progress in our fight against COVID-19,” said PCCI’s Executive-In-Residence Thomas Roderick, Ph.D. “Our latest Vulnerability Index report is the most positive yet, with new cases slowing and modest, but important participation in the vaccination program continuing. This progress is a credit to the outstanding efforts of our public health leaders and residents devoted to crushing COVID-19.”

The uptick in vaccinations and decrease in active cases has helped Dallas County inch closer to its herd immunity goal of 80%.  At the end of May, Dallas County was at 75.5% herd immunity.

“Without question, vaccinations are the key to Dallas County reaching herd immunity,” said PCCI’s vice president of clinical information, George “Holt” Oliver, MD. “Vaccinations have been the primary reason we’ve seen a reduction in risk and why we are in sight of reaching the herd immunity threshold. The vaccinations for adults and children over 12 years old are effective, easily obtained, and quickly administered. We should all do our part to get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same. That is the way we will crush COVID.”

In other news:

  • A new COVID-19 vaccine could be available this summer, called a protein subunit vaccine. What makes this vaccine different from others is that it contains purified pieces of COVID-19. The vaccine will likely come from biotech company Novavax.
  • The SMU Dedman School of Law’s COVID-19 Legal Helpline was the recipient of the 2021 State Bar of Texas’ W. Frank Newton Award for their dedication to providing legal services related to COVID-19 for low-income North Texans.  Legal assistance included matters such as housing, immigration, and consumer protection.  57 students manned the helpline and took in about 2,400 calls.

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