Why herd immunity may be impossible without vaccinating children

Initially, it looked like herd immunity could be reached when 60-70% of the population was immune. Herd immunity means that enough of the population has either been vaccinated or gained immunity through natural infection to stifle the virus’s spread.

However, research and expert opinions now tell us this number is likely much higher – in the 70-90% range due to highly transmissible virus variants that are emerging.

Clinical trials are still underway for using the vaccine in adolescents and will take longer for younger children. With children under 16 unable to get the vaccine, that leaves 80% of the U.S. population eligible to be immunized. A tiny percentage of those adults shouldn’t be vaccinated due to severe allergies to ingredients in the vaccines or other serious health conditions.

But not all of the remaining adults plan to get the vaccine. A large percentage – 32% in one recent national poll – say they either probably or definitely won’t get inoculated. In another poll, nearly half either said they won’t get the vaccine unless required to or they want to “wait and see” and how it works for others.

Without broadly vaccinating children to reduce COVID-19 transmission, herd immunity simply will not happen.


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