The Gregg County Health Department is offering booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for anyone older than 18.

The Johnson & Johnson booster vaccine is not yet available in the county.

Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said vaccination rates here are the best among those older than 65. Those residents were initially at the highest at risk of contracting COVID-19. He said that age group also was more receptive to the vaccine.

It’s a different story with some people younger than 65, Browne said, who are more resistant to receiving the vaccine.

“People that are totally healthy and have no concurrent medical issues, which a lot of people in their 20s, and 30s and 40s are, they’re still at risk for catching COVID and even more likely to spread it if they catch it because of the great mobility the younger people have,” Browne said. “I think their hesitancy to take the vaccination is detrimental to the health of Gregg County.”

As of Saturday, 46.57% of people older than 5 have been fully vaccinated in Gregg County. That rate is 80.54% in residents 65 and older.

Browne said he knows of unvaccinated residents in younger age groups who caught the virus, got severely ill and are now big proponents of the vaccine.

He said many people already have made up their minds whether to be vaccinated, but his message to the people of Gregg County is to consider taking the vaccine not only for themselves, but for people they will come into contact with.

“It is proven that people who are vaccinated will have less complications and less deaths because they’re vaccinated, compared to the unvaccinated population,” he said.

Browne said among COVID-19 deaths reported from Gregg County hospitals within the past months, at least 90% of the patients were unvaccinated.

The free COVID-19 booster dose is being offered at the Gregg County Health Department, at 405 E. Marshall Ave., Suite 104.

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