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Coronavirus in Texas

How a small Texas town doubled its COVID-19 vaccination rate in a month as the state’s rate declined

Mount Pleasant in northeast Texas lags behind the state in its vaccination rate, but the town is boosting its numbers by mobilizing churches, nonprofits and other trusted community leaders to help overcome residents’ fears and doubts.

Onelia Orellana talks to Texas Department of State Health Services Specialist and Translator Maria Palacio before she receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant on May 7, 2021.
Onelia Orellana is assisted by Texas Department of State Health Services Specialist and Translator Maria Palacio as she fills out the forms needed to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant on May 7, 2021.
Paola Gonzalez, a contracted workers with Texas Department of State Health Services, waits as people go through the vaccination process at the Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant on May 7, 2021.

Mistrust of government leads to hesitancy

Dr. Sharon Huff is the Northeast Regional Medical Director for Texas Department of State Health Services and oversees the operations of COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Signs guide patients at the Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church towards the activity center, where the Texas Department of State Health Services hosted a vaccine clinic in Mt. Pleasant on May 7, 2021.

Churches, nonprofits and employers lead the charge

Maria Campos watches her daughter Vicky Martinez receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant on May 7, 2021.

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