Herd immunity to COVID-19 – what does it mean, and how will we know if we’ve gotten there?
“Herd immunity is the concept that by having a large percentage of a population, or your herd, immune to a particular infectious disease, that even within that herd, there can be people who are not immune who are protected who don’t get the illness, because there just aren’t cases of COVID-19 around due to that large immunity rate,” said Dr. Matt Anderson, senior medical director of primary care with UW Health.
“So, even though somebody’s not immune, they’re not really at risk because the disease doesn’t exist in the community through the immunization immunity.”
Experts say the U.S. could reach herd immunity when 70 to 90 percent of the population is vaccinated. “Every extra percentage point that we’re getting vaccinated is fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths,” Anderson said. “More protection for everybody, including those who are most vulnerable.”