DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Public health officials are worried about whether the U.S. can reach herd immunity this year as the vaccination rates continue to decline nationwide.
The CDC says roughly 32% of the population is now fully vaccinated, which translates to roughly 105 million Americans, including 3.8 million Ohioans. We need roughly 75% of the population to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
Health leaders say as cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease, residents can expect changes to return to normal, but the timeline is still up in the air.
“We don’t know enough about COVID-19 to know what that number is,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer at Miami Valley Hospital.
U.S. and Ohio health leaders agree it will take between 75 to 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity, but that number could change.
“I think we will be seeing a lot less cases of COVID and hospitalizations and very hopefully we’ll be without a mask in Christmas,” said Colon.
Colon believes Ohio can reach herd immunity, but only if everyone works together.
“It’s going to have to be a commitment from everyone in our community to take the steps necessary to get vaccinated and protect everyone, together,” said Colon.
Residents who got vaccinated today say they getting vaccinated to help reach herd immunity, even if it may take a while.
“It would take some time, won’t be overnight so doing your part would make it a little bit faster,” said Deanna Pancake, a resident of Greene County.
The state is currently averaging nearly 148 cases per 100,000 residents. Governor Mike DeWine says this is where the numbers were when he set the 50 case threshold earlier this year.