Herd immunity is a term that has been used in connection with stopping the spread of COVID-19. But what exactly is herd immunity, and how can it be achieved?
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a virus to stop the spread — similar to a roadblock.
However, the COVID-19 vaccine is too new for doctors to be sure herd immunity can be accomplished in just a few months.
Angela Oates, MD, infectious disease specialist, explained that, as of now, there’s no evidence of how the vaccine is performing in the general public.
“We can’t yet say a vaccinated person can’t get COVID-19,” she said. “For now, the CDC is recommending if someone is vaccinated, they still wear a mask, socially distance and practice hand hygiene.”
At this time, the biggest benefit of the vaccine is providing an additional layer of protection.
“The more layers of protection, the more likely we will be able to get control of the pandemic and hopefully end it,” Dr. Oates said.
While achieving herd immunity can possibly bring back life as we knew it before COVID-19, patience is imperative as the vaccine roll out continues.
“It will most likely take several months to get 80 to 90 percent of our population inoculated, but it is a major step in slowing the spread of this dangerous virus,” Dr. Oates said.
SMC is a COVID-19 vaccination site. Vaccines are available to senior citizens 65 and older, as well as those aged 18 to 64 who have at least one chronic medical condition that poses high risk for COVID-19.
Appointments are subject to supply. Please call 856-469-8555 for availability.