Vaccine Hesitancy Impacting Road To Herd Immunity – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Fewer North Texans are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dallas County health officials.
Experts at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation say hesitation about vaccines distances us from an important milestone in the pandemic: herd immunity.
Herd immunity is when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, whether through vaccination or natural antibodies to previous infections.
According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, returning to a pre-pandemic lifestyle would require at least 70% of the population to be immune to keep the infection rate low without restricting activities.
In February, the center predicted that Dallas County could achieve herd immunity by mid-June.
In an updated statement on Wednesday, the center’s President and CEO Steve Miff, Ph.D. announced, “Due to the slowed vaccination rate, we have updated our forecast that Dallas County will reach the COVID herd immunity threshold by the end of June, with the Possibility of falling even further back into July. “
The PCCI’s February herd immunity projections were based on 80% of the county’s residents having either recovered from COVID-19 or received vaccinations.
The 12 Dallas ZIP codes that exceeded the 80% threshold include:
To date, over 35% of the Dallas County’s population has been vaccinated, including over 73% of residents over the age of 65. However, vaccination rates have fallen.
Dallas County drew an average of 45,000 vaccines per week, compared to the mid and top 60,000 in March.
“The more people who are infected and continue to be infected, the greater the likelihood that the virus will mutate,” Miff said. “That is why it is so important for us to keep making progress, keep vaccinating our neighbors and families, and getting these values up to speed as soon as possible.”
Around 2.7 million Texans have recovered from COVID-19, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
The CDC estimates that from February to December 2020, one of a total of 4.6 COVID-19 infections was reported.
These estimates put the number of cases recovered in Texas could be around 10 million, or one-third of the state’s population.
According to this card, around 25% of all Texans are fully vaccinated.
The Texas Coronavirus Antibody REsponse Survey (CARES) is trying to understand the response of human antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and hopes that taking its survey will help quantify how many Texans have antibodies.