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El Paso COVID-19 deaths include seven fully vaccinated residents with underlying health conditions

El Paso Times logo El Paso Times 7/22/2021 Anthony Jackson, El Paso Times

At least seven people who were considered fully vaccinated have died from COVID-19, city of El Paso officials said Wednesday. 

All had underlying health conditions, a city spokeswoman said. 

Earlier in July, Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city-county health authority, confirmed that a fully vaccinated woman in her 60s died of COVID-19.

a man holding a sign: Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the El Paso city-county health authority and leader of the El Paso health department’s COVID-19 efforts, gives a COVID-19 update during a Dec. 3 press conference at El Paso City Hall. © VIC KOLENC/EL PASO TIMES Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the El Paso city-county health authority and leader of the El Paso health department’s COVID-19 efforts, gives a COVID-19 update during a Dec. 3 press conference at El Paso City Hall.

Ocaranza at that time said it was unusual and that it was not "going to be a common occurrence." 

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Herd immunity: As COVID-19 cases go up, city and county leaders say El Paso inching closer to herd immunity

When asked about the increase in COVID-19 deaths in fully vaccinated people, Ocaranza said that "vaccines are not going to be 100% effective."

Ocaranza said he still urges residents to receive a vaccine. 

City officials didn't say which vaccines the people who died had received.

"The fact that we're seeing a very small number of breakthrough cases doesn't mean that we need to lose faith in the vaccines," Ocaranza said. "If we compare the era before the vaccine to now that we have the vaccine, the number of people hospitalized because of COVID has dropped tremendously."

More: DHS extends restrictions on 'non-essential' US-Mexico border travel through Aug. 21

a person sitting at a table in front of a box: Medical personnel prepare COVID-19 vaccine shots for maquiladora workers at the Tornillo Port of Entry. © Courtesy of El Paso County Medical personnel prepare COVID-19 vaccine shots for maquiladora workers at the Tornillo Port of Entry.

El Paso close to herd immunity against COVID-19

The city of El Paso reported 46 new positive cases Wednesday as the city and county inch closer to achieving herd immunity against COVID-19. It also reported five more deaths, raising the total to 2,693. There are 687 active cases, with 50 people hospitalized, including nine in intensive care. 

On Monday, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced at least 68% of El Pasoans 12 years old and older are considered fully vaccinated. Roughly 79% of the city's population 12 years old and older are partially vaccinated.

At least 75% of the population needs to be fully vaccinated to have herd immunity.

City officials said they still haven't seen any COVID-19 infections from the more contagious delta variant, but Ocaranza said the possibility of the variant being introduced to the El Paso community is very high. 

A maquiladora worker receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Tornillo port of entry recently. El Paso County officials announced an effort to inoculate 50,000 Mexican workers. © Courtesy of El Paso County A maquiladora worker receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the Tornillo port of entry recently. El Paso County officials announced an effort to inoculate 50,000 Mexican workers.

Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in El Paso

Walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations are available to members of the public for free at the El Paso convention center, 1 Civic Center Plaza.

Vaccinations are available from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Residents also can register and schedule appointments for the vaccine with the city of El Paso by visiting EPCovidVaccine.com and clicking on the registration form or by calling 915-212-6843.

Those who have received their first shot but not their second dose are urged to call the city's COVID-19 hotline at 915-212-6843.

More: El Paso officials announce effort to vaccinate 50,000 Mexican maquiladora workers

Anthony Jackson may be reached at ADJackson@elpasotimes.com and @TonyAnjackson on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso COVID-19 deaths include seven fully vaccinated residents with underlying health conditions

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