Dallas Experts Estimate Threshold to Achieve COVID-19 Herd Immunity

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According to a new estimate from the Parkland Centre for Clinical Innovation, more than ninety-five percent of Dallas County residents need to be protected against COVID-19 before the county can achieve herd immunity.

Researchers from the center included the new estimate in a peer-reviewed article they recently published. Researchers have tracked and analyzed detailed COVID-19 data since the start of the pandemic last year. Their report was published this month by the New England Journal of Medicine’s media outlet.

Steve Miff, the center’s president and CEO, said the new herd immunity estimate does not include an exact number of people that need to be protected against the virus. However, they believe that upwards of ninety-five percent or even ninety-nine percent need protection for the county to achieve herd immunity.

Miff stated that around seventy-six percent of the county’s residents are protected against COVID-19 through vaccinations or natural immunity.

Herd immunity is a condition in which a population is indirectly protected from infection because vaccinations and previous exposure limit a disease’s spread. There have been various changes made to the estimate of herd immunity since the beginning of the pandemic.

Parkland Centre for Clinical Innovation initially estimated that Dallas County would reach herd immunity once eighty percent of its residents were protected.

“Any time you have a new dominant variant, you have to go back to the drawing board and reassess everything,” Miff said.

Recently, estimates showed that around twenty-thousand residents are getting their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine each week. Miff said the current vaccination rate means the county is only moving towards the new estimate by one percent every week.

“We still have ways to go,” Miff said. “As a community, we remain very vulnerable to the virus.”

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