WACO, TX — Waco leaders met with healthcare professionals this afternoon in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to hospitals, McLennan County has one of the sharpest increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations rates in the entire state.
A big talking point during the meeting was centered around community trust. Many Central Texans doubt the efficiency and safety of the vaccine. Others ask 'If I already get the vaccine, why should I wear a mask?'
Dr. Brad Holland, a practicing physician, and member of the McLennan County Medical Society said, there is doubt in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine which is leading people away from rolling up their sleeves.
"I am coming as a concerned doctor because like you, I am sick and tired of COVID-19," Dr. Holland said. "I am frustrated to the point I can spit that our numbers are rising. No health and safety were cut when developing the safety of the vaccine. Only the red tape."
With vaccinations at a standstill across the state, the Delta variant is finding its way through unvaccinated, and in some cases vaccinated, Texans.
"The number of fatalities reported in just were 125 percent higher than reported in the month of June," Dr. Holland said.
According to data by the CDC, almost every county sits in the right for high COVID-19 transmission. Dr. Jackson Griggs with Waco Family Medicine said given the aggressive nature of the Delta strain, people should continue to mask up even if vaccinated.
"I have resumed my masking at HEB, given my vaccine I'm not living in fear, we are not where we were in the spring or summer of 2020," Dr. Griggs said, "I am being improved with my mask-wearing with lots of people."
Karen Hicks, a teacher in Waco ISD, contemplated getting the vaccine but ultimately chose to get the shot.
"It is so important for you to take care of your health first. Not just for you but for your children," Hicks said.
As people like Hicks continue to make the choice, it's important to remember this is not a political decision but a public health one.