Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vaccination Numbers In Hidalgo County Dispel Notions About Latinos And Vaccine Hesitancy

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Intense vaccination efforts have proved successful in Hidalgo County in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Just over 25% of the almost 870,000 people who live there have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Dr. Ivan Melendez is health authority for the county. He says locals have proved wrong early media reports that Latinos would largely be hesitant to get vaccinated.

“The media had published many reports that about 40% of Latinos, which composes about 85% of our population down here, were hesitant to be vaccinated. … We didn’t find that to be the case,” Melendez said. “The demand has always exceeded the supply.”

Hidalgo County’s strategy has been to get shots into the arms of people within five days of receiving a shipment of vaccine. The result, Melendez says, has been a dramatic drop in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. He also says the county’s partnership with the private sector has made the rollout possible.

Despite the growing number of vaccinated people in his area, he says the Easter holiday is not a time for anyone to let their guard down against COVID-19. The virus can still spread when people gather because of variants and, especially, because there are still so many people who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

“We’re so close that it’s not quite time yet to let off the gas. But certainly we’re in a much better spot this Easter than we were this past Christmas,” he said.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on and Thanks for donating today.

Caroline Covington is Texas Standard's digital producer/reporter. She joined the team full time after finishing her master's in journalism at the UT J-School. She specializes in mental health reporting, and has a growing interest in data visualization. Before Texas Standard, Caroline was a freelancer for public radio, digital news outlets and podcasts, and produced a podcast pilot for Audible. Prior to journalism, she wrote and edited for marketing teams in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. She has a bachelor's in biology from UC Santa Barbara and a master's in French Studies from NYU.
Related Content