Multiple brands of vaccines have been approved for use. Positive cases in many parts of the U.S. are declining. The vaccination rate continues to increase. Hope seems on the horizon after a dark year of COVID-19. However, one crucial piece of the puzzle is still missing: herd immunity.
According to WebMD, herd immunity, or community immunity, is when a large part of the population of an area is immune to a specific disease. If enough people are resistant to the cause of a disease, such as a virus or bacteria, it dies down as it has nobody to infect.
Reaching herd immunity goes beyond the vaccine variable. Other factors come into play. The rate of previously infected people, speed and uptake of vaccinations, and new virus variants can throw herd immunity off its projected track.
Since the SARS-CoV2 virus is new, the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known. Herd immunity percentages vary with each different illness. Initially, experts guessed that 60 - 70% of the population would need to have antibodies or a vaccine. Now, hope in that statistic has dropped after the introduction of new variants, hesitancy around vaccination, and lack of U.S. safety regulations.
Scientists aren’t sure when, or even if, COVID-19 will be stopped by herd immunity. Experts initially expected the pandemic to last 4 weeks. Now, people anticipate late summer or early fall of 2021 to be more likely. As we learn more about the evolving virus, predictions change.
Herd immunity is not promised. Even though statistics look promising, it is up to you to continue to protect yourself and those around you. By continuing to treat this virus as seriously as we did when we first went into lockdown, we can continue to slow the spread and work toward a new normal.
Safety Pros can help keep you and your employees protected with reliable PPE. Though certain statistics give us hope, it’s crucial to remain protected to avoid more spikes in infection rate.