Texas Panhandle Cities Rank 1st and 3rd in the Nation in Vaccinating for COVID

Melinda Crow

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According to CovidActNow.org, Amarillo, Texas has outpaced the nation in getting vaccines into arms. The first position is based on a first dose vaccination rate of 12.4% of the population. Lubbock ranks third on the list at 10.7% of its population receiving the first dose. Those numbers compare to the statewide average for Texas of 5.2% of the population receiving one or more doses, according to the CDC.
Amarillo began a mass vaccination program at its civic center on December 30. Almost 30,000 people have received their first doses through the program. While long wait times were reported during the first days of the process, all reports now indicate the wait times are greatly improved.
The city is providing transportation to the clinic for those that need it. Vaccinations have been ongoing this week, available on a walk-in basis only (no appointments taken) while supplies last.

“A vaccination clinic of this magnitude is something Amarillo has never done before,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “The City of Amarillo Public Health Department understood the mission:  vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. They accomplished that by transforming the Amarillo Civic Center into an area-wide health clinic that is providing a crucial vaccine to thousands of people a day.

“What has been accomplished in such a short time is truly remarkable. This is one of the primary steps in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and I would encourage our citizens who meet the current vaccination criteria to please get vaccinated and to take advantage of this vital public resource.”

This follows the area's earlier struggles to keep COVID case counts under control due to outbreaks in the meat processing industry. Both Amarillo and Lubbock serve as healthcare hubs for surrounding rural counties.

Lubbock County ranks eighth in the state in total case counts (46,572) preceded only by counties with large metro areas. The city of Amarillo is split into two counties (Potter and Randall). The combined case count of the two counties is 32,009.

Lubbock County ranks ninth in the state in total fatalities (684). Amarillo's two counties have a combined fatality count of 563. Both cities have seen a drop in previous high active case counts from last fall. Lubbock County currently has 1,975 active cases, while Amarillo's active cases are at 2,804.

Both cities are administering vaccines to the state's 1a and 1b groups that include anyone over age 65, in addition to first responders, and those with health concerns that put them at high risk of serious outcomes from COVID.

Like Amarillo, Lubbock is relying on a mass vaccination program administered through their civic center.

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