Is Covid-19 herd immunity possible?

MEDFORD, Ore. — A light may be at the end of the tunnel after the first round of Covid-19 vaccines were delivered nationwide on Monday.

But Jackson County Health Officer Dr. Jim Shames says a ‘new normal’ will take time.

“We both don’t have enough vaccine nor do we have enough infrastructure to vaccinate everyone at once,” said Dr. Shames.

He says health officials still don’t know if ‘herd immunity’ is possible or how long it will take.

That means the virus can no longer being transmitted anymore either because so many people are vaccinated or already had the disease.

“When you talk about measles, you’ve got to have about 95 percent of the population immunized cause it’s so darn contagious. Covid is less so, but it’s still pretty contagious. We’re expecting that number to be about 70 percent,” said Dr. Shames.

Dr. Shames says the vaccine will keep a person from getting sick.

But we don’t know if it will provide what’s called ‘sterilizing immunity.’

“We don’t know for sure whether the vaccine will prevent you from having the virus in your nose and throat and transmit it to somebody else and not get sick,” said Dr. Shames.

When life will return to ‘normal,’ is a question Dr. Shames and other health officials say they can’t answer with certainty.

“I’m guessing people will be motivated to get vaccinated because they can see the reality of Covid and I think they don’t want it. But it could be as the risk diminishes, people will begin to think they can skip the vaccine because the risk diminishes and some people will get away with it. And some people won’t,” said Dr. Shames.

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