Health experts estimate at least 70% of population needs to be immune to virus to achieve herd immunity

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues nationwide, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 20.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered so far in the United State. The agency reports more than 3 million Americans have received two doses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it could be several months until herd immunity is achieved.

“Hopefully that will be as we enter into the fall and end of summer,” explained Fauci.

To reach herd immunity, Dr. Chirag Patel, with UF Health Jacksonville, estimates at least 70% of the population needs to be immune to the coronavirus.

“What herd immunity is, is when people in the population develop immunity to a specific disease or pathogen, or in this case, a virus and that in of itself will significantly limit the ability of that virus to spread because, if enough people in the community are immune to it, the virus really has no place to jump. It can’t go person to person,” Patel explained. “What we are seeing here and there are different estimates, on the conservative side we think about 70% of the population needs to have immunity to achieve herd immunity. Some have argued that with the mutations that are occurring now, it’s going to take 90% herd immunity to happen.”

During an appearance Sunday on “The Morning Show,” Patel said there are currently not enough vaccines to achieve that.

“Based on the limited information that has been made available to the public regarding vaccine supply, there are currently not enough doses for all Americans over the age of 18,” Patel said. “It’s also unclear if there are enough doses for Americans in the CDC’s phase one group, which was those essential workers which includes health care workers, long-term care facility residents, people 65 and older or anyone with a high-risk medical condition. But Dr. Fauci recently came out and confidently stated that he believes that in the first 100 days of this current administration that we should be able to vaccinate 100 million people.”

Patel encouraged people to trust public health officials as the vaccine distribution continues across the country. On its website, the CDC reports health experts are working to learn more about herd immunity and COVID-19. The agency said the percentage of people who need to be protected to achieve it varies by disease.

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