Covid-19 ‘herd immunity’ will require more vaccine compliance than previously thought

Updated: Jan. 31, 2021 at 8:36 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The coronavirus is still ever present across the country and Louisiana, and what’s more, at least one variant of the virus is now circulating around New Orleans.

“Moderna for example is already looking to do studies on additional booster shots so a third shot against these mutant strains that are emerging,” said LSU Health’s Dr. Fred Lopez.

Former Louisiana congressman Cedric Richmond, and senior advisor to President Biden promised CBS News’ Face The Nation that they are trying to get those vials out to the nation as soon as possible.

“Look, I think you see us doing everything humanly possible to make sure we ramp up vaccinations. We’re delivering another 1.6 million to the states every week. So, we bumped up to order. We just purchased another 200 million vaccinations so that we can vaccinate the whole 300 million adults that we need to do. And so, we’re going to keep pushing,” said Richmond.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, only about one percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against the virus. So as vaccine companies work overtime to produce and distribute the drug, Infectious disease expert Dr. Fred Lopez says especially with the new variants projected to be the dominant strains in months, more people need to take the shot to achieve herd immunity.

“So for months we’ve been saying around 70 percent heard immunity but it was by natural infection and or vaccination, but with these viruses that transmit more effectively it may need to be near an 85 percent, and even though I do get a sense from some of the surveys that people are more amenable to being vaccinated I’m not sure and it’s 85 percent of people,” said Lopez.

“We’re going to keep sending vaccines to the states and asking the states to hurry up and make sure that they get them all out,” said Richmond.

He says with any new technology, it’s about helping better educate the population.

“I think we need to do a better job of promoting the vaccine to people who are hesitant,” said Lopez.

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