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Potter County judge hopes vaccination rates in Texas Panhandle improve in 2022

COVID hospitalization rates are rising in the Texas Panhandle and that isn’t good news for the region as it heads into 2022.
Credit: WFAA

DALLAS — COVID hospitalization rates are rising in the Texas Panhandle and that isn’t good news for the region as it heads into 2022. Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner doesn’t see things improving much during the cold, winter months.

“Our numbers are at 20% and rising every day, 20% population of only COVID patients in the hospital.  We’ve had over 500 deaths in Potter County alone,” Judge Tanner said on Inside Texas Politics. “It’s something I thought would be taken care of with the vaccine. Apparently people aren’t seeing it the same way I see it.”

Only around 40% of Potter County residents are fully vaccinated, well below the state average.  

In Travis County, for instance, the number stands above 70%. While Potter County had early success getting shots in arms, the rate fell quickly and hasn’t moved much since. Tanner says more than 80% of the folks currently hospitalized there with COVID are unvaccinated. 

She hopes the vaccination rate improves in 2022. But the politics remain tricky and she can’t force anyone to get the vaccine.

“What is the old saying?  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. And that’s exactly what’s going on up here, literally.  Even the horses don’t want it,” she said.