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What does it take to achieve herd immunity?



COLUMBUS (WCMH) – “Crew immunity” is a term that has been tossed around by medical experts throughout the pandemic.

But what does it mean, especially as more people begin to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Health experts warn that the rapidly spreading, more contagious varieties could put your point at risk.

“We get herd immunity using one of three different combinations: 1) people get vaccinated, 2) people get immunity to natural infection or 3) what really happens in the real world, it̵

7;s a combination of both,” describes infectious disease expert Dr. Joseph Gastaldo from OhioHealth.

Medical experts have suggested that it will take a total of 70-80% percent of the population who are either vaccinated or naturally infected by COVID019 to achieve this target of herd immunity.

“Are we going there?” We’ll come eventually. On the other hand, we come much faster with people who get vaccines in their arms, ”admits Dr. Gastaldo. “If we wait for natural infection to get us into herd immunity, it will cause much more pain and suffering and death due to COVID-19.”

But what if the vaccine hesitation prevents us from reaching that point?

So far, just over 33% of Ohioans have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I know people are tired. I know people are tired of COVID and this pandemic and they will return to some sense of normalcy, but it will take some time for us to come to life before COVID-19, ”warns Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts.

However, the supply of vaccines will soon outweigh the demand. Which leaves questions about what happens to health orders when the vaccine assesses the plateau and those who want the shot have already been fully vaccinated?

“Wearing a mask will be the key for all of us, and it will be in place or at least advised for a while,” admits Dr. Roberts.

Experts still project that we could achieve crew immunity in the summer.

“Truly the true definition of herd immunity is when we do not see the level of virus that we are currently seeing in our society,” says Dr. Roberts.

And how do we know when we have reached that point?

“We know when we get there when our admissions are bottom, and more importantly, we know when we get there when our positivity rates are down,” adds Dr. Gastaldo.

For those hoping to see health orders lifted, Dr.Roberts reminded that Ohio is ‘open’, and while recommendations on mask and social distance remain in place, she warns that life will not return to normal with it same even if we reach herd immunity.


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