Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Information

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A message from the city of Sugar Land - Dr. Joe Anzaldua, May 7

I would like to encourage everyone that is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, to do so as soon as possible. Now more than ever, vaccines are more readily available. And even though there are county and hospital-operated vaccine HUBS still open, more and more doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies are offering the vaccines to the general public.

Vaccination is key to put an end to this pandemic. And the more people that get vaccinated, the quicker this can happen. When a large percentage of the population becomes immune to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness, this is what is known as “herd immunity.”

Dr. Joe Anzaldua

Anzaldua.Joe

Herd immunity is said to occur when that percentage is at least two thirds of the population (at least 70 percent). The expectation is that herd immunity will make the spread of the coronavirus from person to person less likely, which will then put the brakes on the pandemic phase of SARS–CoV–2. I say “pandemic phase” because it is very likely that SARS-CoV-2 will be with us for many years to come, but more as an annual or seasonal non-pandemic problem – much like the seasonal flu.

So as result of herd immunity, the whole community (“the herd”) becomes protected - not just those who have immunity. 

Herd immunity can happen in two ways: 

  1. A large percentage of the population either gets infected with coronavirus (natural immunity) which would result in significant illness, hospitalizations, and death.
  2. A large percentage of the population gets vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. With respect to public health; however, our objective is to protect people from the coronavirus by vaccination and not by exposing them to it. In reality, both are happening at the same time.


Currently vaccines are only approved for people 16 years and older. It is expected that the FDA (in conjunction with the CDC) will give Emergency Use Authorization for children 12 and up in the next few days to few weeks.  Preliminary reports from Pfizer are showing 100% efficacy for children ages 12-16! This is good news!

And although viral transmission, new cases, hospitalizations and even death are declining, vulnerable unvaccinated people are still at risk of getting infected and getting sick. So again, the more people that are vaccinated, the faster we get to herd immunity, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic.

Clinical studies continue to show the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh any risks. Both the FDA and the CDC continue to report that the currently available vaccines are safe and very effective. Recently, the FDA and the CDC have conducted a very thorough investigation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which recently was felt to be associated with forming blood clots. They have concluded that this blood clot adverse event was extremely rare and is now being recommended once again. So please check with your healthcare provider to see if this vaccine is right for you. For most people, it should be.

The Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are both a two-shot series, while the Johnson & Johnson is only one shot. To be considered fully vaccinated, the two-shot series vaccines must be completed. Skipping the second dose is NOT recommended.

You may have heard about the mutant strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as “variants”) that are being identified. Unfortunately, some of them seem to be more transmissible (more easily spread). But fortunately, our current vaccines appear to provide protection against them.

We will probably not eradicate the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the near future, but we can and should put an end to the pandemic. And the key to this, is vaccination!

An update from the city of Sugar Land - March 8

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued a new executive order that rescinds most of his earlier executive orders.  Effective Wednesday, all businesses of any type may open to 100 percent capacity, and there will no longer be a statewide mask mandate in Texas.  The city of Sugar Land has worked closely with its local health authority, Dr. Joe Anzaldua, to review the governor’s recent order and identify safety measures for all city facilities. Current safety measures will remain in place for all city facilities. These measures are consistent with the governor’s recommendation to continue following safety protocols and mitigation measures that ensure the safety of the Sugar Land community.

All employees, visitors and contractors entering a city facility must:

  • wear face coverings;
  • maintain safe distance; and
  • utilize temperature screening kiosks at facility entrances. 

Hygiene and PPE supplies will continue to be provided. The procedures follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the city’s local health authority. Other safety measures follow:

  • Government meetings and citizen engagement programs will be held online.
  • Masks are encouraged at city parks for those not able to maintain safe distance. 
  • All court hearings are being conducted virtually.
  • Building Safety/Permits and Inspections, City Secretary and Treasury are accepting in-person customers by appointment only.  

For a complete list of city services -- including cancelations, closures and re-openings -- visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/ServiceImpacts.  

The governor’s order allows businesses to require masks and limit capacity. Citizens must comply with safety measures implemented by businesses or choose to shop elsewhere. Failure to comply could result in criminal trespass charges. 

According to Anzaldua, experts caution that herd immunity has not yet been achieved, so current mitigation strategies remain important, including and especially wearing face masks. This is consistent with recommendations from infectious disease experts and especially the CDC.

  • Continue to take the simple precautions to stay safe, especially wearing properly fitted face masks.
  • Wash hands regularly, avoid touching faces, maintain safe distance from others and routinely disinfect surfaces.
  • And of course, take advantage of COVID 19 vaccines when eligible to receive one. These vaccines are safe, and they are import. 

It is estimated that at least 75 percent of Texans need to achieve immunity to COVID-19 to reach herd immunity. As of March 1, only about 6.8 percent of the 29 million Texans have been fully vaccinated.  For more updates, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/covid.