Will we ever reach herd immunity?

Getting everybody vaccinated may be harder than expected with a quarter of Americans against it.

The actual number has varied. At first, health experts predicted that 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Then it was 90%. Now, many have moved away from discussions of herd immunity altogether.

The problem is that no matter what number is aimed for, we may never reach it. According to a recent Economist/YouGov poll, nearly a quarter of Americans say they won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Herd immunity is the theory that, at some point, enough people will have developed an immunity to a disease to make it difficult for that disease to spread. Immunity can come from vaccines or it can come from people surviving an infection. Obviously, the first option is preferable since it doesn’t kill people in the process.

With a sizable portion of the population rejecting vaccination efforts, it increases the likelihood that we’re going to experience the second option.

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“There is no eradication at this point, it’s off the table. The only thing we can talk about is control,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, the director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, in an interview with USA Today.

That doesn’t mean vaccination isn’t important. Vaccination still protects individuals against COVID-19 infection. Unfortunately, it means that people who can’t be vaccinated – whether because of medical conditions, allergies, or other issues – are going to be prone to the coronavirus for the foreseeable future.

You can read the full story here.

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