UPDATED 10:50 AM PT – Saturday, March 20, 2021
Some U.S. states predicted they could achieve herd immunity by late summer, but medical professionals have said that vaccine hesitancy and new variants are the nation’s biggest obstacles in obtaining that goal.
On Friday, the CDC reported more than 118 million vaccines have been administered in the U.S. In order to achieve herd immunity, which is the point where a disease cannot spread because a large enough proportion of people in a community are immune to it, National Institute of Health Officials said roughly 80 percent of the nation’s population would need to get the shot.
We all have a role to play in ending the pandemic. In the past year, there have been over 29 million cases & 530,000 deaths from #COVID19. But there is reason to hope: More than 1 in 5 Americans have received at least 1 dose of vaccine. Read more: https://t.co/F4bAyObDp1. pic.twitter.com/in97OeDq72
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 19, 2021
Americans have expressed they are unsure whether the vaccines have the ability to protect against emerging variants of the virus.
Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and scientist for Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, explained that the U.S. is already starting at roughly 25 percent immunity by factoring in the 90 million Americans who have received some immunity from contracting the virus.
“We may be able to capitalize on that and get the herd immunity at an earlier point in time than most envisioned,” Topol explained.
Oxford University researchers found in a preliminary study that the Pfizer vaccine still neutralizes the U.K. and Brazil strains, but at lower levels. They said further investigation will be required.
However, polls conducted by Pew Research Center still show many Americans have been hesitant to roll up their sleeves because they aren’t sure getting vaccinated will be enough to end restrictions.
Instead of supporting any incentive to get Americans to schedule their vaccine appointment, several Democrats have doubled down and urged wearing two masks, even if the individual is vaccinated. Many Republican lawmakers have been quick to criticize that logic.
“You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy? Tell them you can quit wearing your mask after they get the vaccine,” Paul said. “You want people to get the vaccine, give them a reward instead of telling them that the nanny state’s going to be there for three more years and you got to wear a mask forever.”