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ADPH says COVID-19 herd immunity still far off

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Despite rising vaccination numbers, the goal of obtaining herd immunity in Alabama remains a distant one, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“We are moving in a better trajectory, but we’re still not where we need to be,” Dr. Karen Landers said.

The doctor stated around 50% of Alabamians have had at least a single COVID-19 vaccine, and around 40% of the entire population is considered fully vaccinated. Keep in mind that those under 12 do not qualify for a shot.

“At one point, people were talking about 70 to 80% in order to really have adequate immunity, and I think that possibly has even shifted to even higher,” Landers said.

She said herd immunity will be obtained after an “awful” amount of people have had the potentially deadly virus or have been vaccinated. She said COVID-19 shots will play a pivotal role.

“We never reached herd immunity for several other communicable diseases without the use of a vaccine,” she said.

Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma also believes reaching herd immunity is a top priority.

“We want to be the ones to step up and lead the charge to be able to set the tone to consistently push toward herd immunity in this area,” the hospital’s communications and marketing coordinator, Collins Pettaway III, said.

The hospital considers itself a health care leader in Dallas, Lowndes, Wilcox and Perry counties. It continues to encourage vaccinations in these areas.

Vaughan Regional has been hosting clinics on site, as well as helping bring shots to the community. Recent efforts include clinics at Mount Ararat Baptist Church and Wallace Community College. The hospital said a clinic is currently in the works for Lowndes County.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to give as many people as possible the opportunity to be vaccinated,” Pettaway said.

An opportunity ADPH does not take lightly as it continues to push the vaccine.

“The reality of this is every one of these cases, every one of these deaths, is a person here in Alabama,” Landers said. “I’m deeply troubled by our not really focusing as much on the individual impact that this has on people.”

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