How close to reaching herd immunity?
The Virginia Department of Health reports around 54% of adults are fully vaccinated in the Commonwealth.
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Over the last year the term “herd immunity” has been commonly used as a goal of getting out of the pandemic.
Herd immunity provides indirect protection to people who are not immune to the disease and are most vulnerable.
Laura Lee Wight with the Central Shenandoah Health District says herd immunity happens when most people in a large community are immune to a disease, either by natural immunity from getting sick or from being vaccinated.
Wight said reaching herd immunity through vaccinations will not only prevent illness, but will also help stop the virus from mutating.
“This helps significantly reduce the risk of you actually getting sick, which reduces the chances of the virus mutating into a new variant,” Wight said.
But how long do we have to go?
The goal is having about 75 percent of the Commonwealth fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
The Virginia Department of Health reports around 54 percent of adults are fully vaccinated in the Commonwealth.
With that, Wight said about 54 percent of adults in the Central Shenandoah Health District have gotten at least one dose; 43% of adults Rockingham County and 41 percent in Harrisonburg.
“Eventually, one day, we will reach herd immunity and we want to reach that sooner rather that later to protect those who are most vulnerable in our communities,” Wight said.
In the next few months, Wight says the health district is hoping to make the vaccine as convenient as possible and continue education on it.
While it is ultimately a personal choice, Wight says getting vaccinated will help prevent illness and resume normal life.
She adds that even after we reach herd immunity, the COVID-19 virus will likely still be around.
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