Can the US achieve herd immunity?

ANN ARBOR – Since the first cases of COVID-19 spread across the country, the term herd immunity has been used to describe the best scenario to overcome the pandemic.

However, as vaccination rates slow down, the opportunity to achieve widespread immunity to the virus continues to miss.

University of Michigan’s School of Public Health Research Professor of Epidemiology Abram Wagner recently stated that herd immunity may be more complex than thought and the role vaccine availability and reluctance to play in achieving the nationwide goal.

The university published these questions and answers on the topic:

Do you think herd immunity is achievable in the US?

Wagner: Herd immunity is a theoretical concept in the epidemiology of infectious diseases. It refers to what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to completely eliminate the local transmission of disease and to wipe out outbreaks as soon as they occur.

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There are a number of things that must be true for this concept to actually work. There needs to be an even mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the population. And we know that is not the case in the US. There will be some areas where a higher percentage of the population is vaccinated, in some areas less. And that could be because of access or a hesitant vaccine.

The other thing is that children could transmit SARS-COV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. We do not vaccinate children. So when we talk about reaching a certain percentage of the vaccinated population, we have to realize that we can’t even vaccinate the children at this point, and it will likely be a few more months before a vaccine for all ages of children is available.

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