Jesus Perales is injected with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Jesus Perales is injected with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

COVID-19 has cut along racial lines in Texas, affecting a disproportionate number of Black and Latino families. Now state data shows the inequity is playing out in Texas’ vaccine rollout.

Although more than 15% of the records exclude vaccine recipients’ racial and ethnic information, muddying the statewide vaccination census, the data indicates white Texans are getting the jab at nearly twice the rate as Latinos and more than six times that of Black residents, the Texas Tribune found.

In Bexar County, where Hispanic residents are the majority, Latinos make up 2 out of every 5 vaccinated residents. White people represent a slightly greater percentage (30.2%) of vaccinated residents than their proportion of the population (27.1%).

Black residents in Bexar County, who account for 8.6% of the local population, represent just 3.2% of the vaccinated population. Black church leaders in East San Antonio are trying to turn the tide, however, by helping community members sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Another weekly list of vaccine allocations has been released, and Bexar County is due to receive 50,680 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The allocation is nearly 10,000 more than the county received last week.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the allocation, albeit slightly larger than those of recent weeks, still falls short of expectations. The mayor said he’s heard reports that the federal vaccine supply has been disrupted.

“We really need to see those numbers increase, not just here in San Antonio but throughout Texas and, really, throughout the country,” Nirenberg said.

Social distancing in schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for physical distance in K-12 classrooms, reducing the minimum distance from 6 feet to 3 feet. Maintaining 6 feet of distance is still recommended between adults in a school building and between adults and students, in school common areas, when eating or in other situations in which masks can’t be worn, and during activities in which increased exhalation occurs (such as singing, band practice, and exercise).

Nirenberg said the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will update its guidance within the next week or so, but that the agency is in alignment with CDC protocols. That means local schools can begin implementing them immediately.

Spring break breathes new life into local tourism

Despite the fact that the CDC advised against traveling during spring break, San Antonio attractions and hotels are seeing an influx of visitors – with many in the local tourism industry commenting that the activity is a sign the COVID-stricken sector is starting to recover.

Our new visual journalist Bria Woods filed this video report from SeaWorld, where strict COVID-19 protocols are in place as an increasing number of visitors patronize the amusement park. And here’s reporting from Shari Biediger on a city that has come back to life with a bustling River Walk and Alamo Plaza, as well as busy restaurants and booked-up hotels.

With 138 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Bexar County on Friday, the seven-day average dipped by three to 143. The death of a Hispanic woman in her 50s brought the COVID-19 death toll in Bexar County to 2,996. About 14.2% of Bexar County residents old enough to get the vaccine have been fully vaccinated.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Friday:

  • 201,411 total cases, 138 new cases
  • 2,996 deaths, one new death
  • 201 in hospital
  • 75 patients in intensive care
  • 41 patients on ventilators
  • 220,124 residents fully vaccinated
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is a columnist at the San Antonio Report. A former reporter and editor at the SA Report, he currently works as a project manager for New York City-based Advance Local.