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Here's When We'll Have Herd Immunity, Say Experts

Get vaccinated, says Dr. Fauci. That’s what’s more important than worrying about herd immunity.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

When will we reach herd immunity? The question—the answer to which is tied to when we can all go "back to normal"—has been a tantalizing one ever since the vaccines were approved. Today, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the COVID-19 response coordinator, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discussed herd immunity at the White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, and said when we might achieve it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The COVID Team Said When We Might Reach Herd Immunity

So far, "we are talking about close to two thirds of seniors, and close to 30% of all adults, that have now received their first shot," said Slavitt. "And I think it's important…that people will get their second shot, largely because of the durability and the variant. So, as we report these numbers out, this is to report on the progress and the very hard work of tens of thousands of people, but it by no means should be perceived as declaring victory. There's much more work to do."

So when will we reach herd immunity?

"What I would tell you is that, as the President articulated last week, we believe that we will have enough for the adult population produced by the end of May," he said. "And with some time after that, those vaccinations will have occurred. And it is with that the President indicated that if we all do our part by the 4th of July, we should be able to take a really important step to bringing the things to people, the events that our lives, back into our lives." 

The catch? "That's an 'if'—that's really on all of us, so no matter what math you use, we will have enough vaccine doses. We do need people to actually get vaccinated. We do need everybody. That's been doing this enormously important work to keep doing it. And if we do that, we should be in a position right around then when the adult population will have the vaccines they need."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said This is the Best Vaccine to Get

Dr. Fauci Said We Should Not Be Fixated on Some Herd Immunity Number

Dr. Fauci rejected the premise of the question. "We should not so fixated on this elusive number of herd immunity," said Dr. Fauci at the briefing. "We should just be concerned about getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can, because herd immunity is still somewhat of an elusive number. We made a projection of. It would likely be, I've said many times some time, somewhere between 70 and 85%, but we don't know that for sure. So rather than fixating on that, why don't we just say, get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can. And every day that goes by now with more than 2 million doses going into people we're getting closer and closer to control of this pandemic."

So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek