As more Hoosiers continue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there are questions about herd immunity. Herd immunity is when the majority of people in a certain population are vaccinated, so they end up helping protect the part of the population that is not. Health experts stress the importance of remaining cautious of the virus as the state works toward achieving herd immunity.
Brian Dixon is the director of public health informatics at the Regenstrief Institute. He says in order to achieve herd immunity in the state, 70 percent, or roughly 4.8 million Hoosiers need to be vaccinated.
Dixon said we most likely won’t reach that number of vaccines until late summer, assuming logistically, everything goes as planned. That means everyone gets vaccinated when it’s their turn and that there’s enough vaccines to meet demand.
"We believe we can make an impact, even without achieving herd immunity for the whole state, before that time period, if we vaccinate some of the high risk populations," Dixon said.
Dixon urges Hoosiers to remain especially vigilant to their approach to COVID-19 during the winter, as people spend more time indoors.
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He said we most likely won’t reach that number until late summer, and that’s assuming everything works out logistically.
"The time for sort of relaxation and celebration will come in the spring and summer as we begin to achieve herd immunity in specific populations such as long-term care facilities and the rest of the state," Dixon said.
Dixon said the time could be shortened depending on the number of vaccines available.