Study: COVID Vaccines May Have Saved Thousands of Texas Seniors

More than 3,600 Texas seniors may have had their lives saved by getting vaccinated against COVID-19, a new federal study indicates.

A Department of Health and Human Services study examined Medicare beneficiaries from January to May and a report estimates vaccination was linked to a reduction of 24,000 infections and 9,700 fewer hospitalizations among that group, the Dallas Morning News report.

More than 43,000 COVID-related deaths in Texas — about two thirds of the state’s total — have been from seniors, the newspaper reported.

Just under 80% of seniors in the state are vaccinated compared to 62% of all eligible Texans, the Dallas Morning News reported last week.

This report comes as UT Southwestern Medical Center projects that COVID-related hospitalizations will drop in Dallas County. 

Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.

While health experts continue to recommend wearing masks indoors, mask mandates have been a source of controversy in Texas, which has now expanded to include who enforces the state’s mask mandate ban.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has sued school districts over their mask mandates, is being sued by Disability Rights Texas along with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and TEA commissioner Mike Morath, the DMN reports.

Disability Rights Texas claims COVID-19 protocols should be decided on by district leaders themselves.

Lawyers representing the state, though, argue the group  “sued the wrong defendants here,” that the TEA doesn’t enforce Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning mask mandates, and Paxton’s office doesn’t have an “enforcement connection to Governor Abbott’s emergency orders,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

Dustin Rynders, a Disability Rights attorney, called that a “dishonest argument,” the DMN reported, and showed tweets from Paxton announcing legal action and celebrating when school districts reversed mask requirements.

As we previously reported, Paxton’s office also maintains a list of districts that violate the state’s ban on mask mandates.

(READ: As Court Dates Await, More School Districts Issue Mask Requirements)

Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.

In other news:

  • The Texas Department of State Health Services started pop-up events to encourage those 12 and older to get vaccinated.  The events will take place at 18 Walmart locations across the state this month and feature vaccine facts, messages from local spokespeople, and attractions like a “Take the Shot” basketball game. Read more here.

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