How does a community gain ‘herd immunity’ against COVID-19?

Local News

FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. An announcement was expected as soon as this week, with doses beginning to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s a term you’ve probably heard a couple of times, whether it’s regarding the flu or COVID-19. We’re talking about ‘herd immunity.’

Health experts said another term for herd immunity is “community immunity” and it’s based on population and the resistance to the spread of an infectious disease. There are two ways a community can achieve this: by contracting the disease or infection or getting vaccinated against it.

“The difference is those people who choose to take their chances with the disease are running a big risk of long term complications or even death as well as putting a strain on our health care system,” said Melissa Jensen, the Program Director for the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Charleston.

There are more than 100,000 people in Kanawha County fully vaccinated against COVID-19, nearing that goal of herd immunity.

“The fact that we’ve had so many people positive in the last several months with this latest surge gives us some temporary relief because that’s why we’ve started to see some of the decline because, accompanied by the people who are immunized as well as, the people who have had the disease we’re approaching that 70 percent,” said Dr. Sherri Young, Health Officer at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department.

Dr. Young said we’re still not where we need to be as COVID-19 is ever-changing.

“With herd immunity or being able to predict what vaccine we need so what we truly need right now, everybody take the vaccine so we can finally get that community immunity.”

And even though your community may have herd immunity against one infectious disease Jensen adds, it doesn’t apply to all infections.

“Herd immunity for any given infection is separate from any infection,” Jensen said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

West Virginia News

More West Virginia News

Virginia News

More Virginia News

Trending Stories