COVID-19 Vaccine

Carroll Greenwaldt receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination from firefighter/paramedic William Perry of the Longview Fire Department, on Monday January 11, 2021, during a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for individuals in the first tier of the state’s vaccination program. The clinic was held by Longview Regional Medical Center in collaboration with the Longview Fire Department, City of Longview, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and the Gregg County Health Department. (Michael Cavazos/ News-Journal Photo)

The Gregg County Health Department is now offering booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines for anyone over the age of 18. The Johnson & Johnson booster vaccine is not yet available in the county.

Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said vaccination rates are the best among those over 65, who were initially the highest at risk of contracting COVID-19. He said that age group was also more receptive to the vaccine.

It’s a different story with some people under 65, Browne said, who are more resistant to receiving the vaccine. 

“People that are totally healthy and have no concurrent medical issues, which a lot of people in their 20s, and 30s and 40s are, they’re still at risk for catching COVID and even more likely to spread it if they catch it because of the great mobility the younger people have,” Browne said. “I think their hesitancy to take the vaccination is detrimental to the health of Gregg County."

As of Tuesday, 46.53% of people over the age of 5 have been fully vaccinated in Gregg County. In those over 65 years of age, 80.51% are fully vaccinated.

Browne said he knows of unvaccinated individuals in younger age groups who caught the virus, got severely ill and are now big proponents of the vaccine.

Browne said many people have already made their mind up whether to be vaccinated or not, but his message to the people of Gregg County is to consider taking the vaccine not only for themselves, but for people they will come into contact with.

“It is proven that people who are vaccinated will have less complications and less deaths because they’re vaccinated, compared to the unvaccinated population,” Browne said.

Browne said among COVID deaths reported from Gregg County hospitals within the last months, at least 90% of the patients were unvaccinated. 

The COVID-19 booster dose is being offered at the Gregg County Health Department, located at 405 East Marshall Avenue, Suite 104. The health department is closed in observance of Thanksgiving on Thursday and Friday but will reopen Monday with its normal hours.  

 
 

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Bilingual Multimedia Journalist

I cover COVID-19 and health in the East Texas area for Tyler Morning Telegraph, the Longview News-Journal and Tyler Paper Español. Stephen F. Austin State University alumna. For story ideas, email me at rtorres@tylerpaper.com.