No herd immunity as we move toward a new normal

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama continues to rank near the bottom in the country when it comes to vaccinations. Only Mississippi has a lower vaccination rate. Thursday a UAB professor said that means the state will not hit herd immunity anytime soon.

Dr. Suzanne Judd had hoped the state would have a higher vaccination rate and that would lead us to getting to the so-called herd immunity. Now she is not so sure.

“It’s doubtful we will reach herd immunity since we don’t have a lot of people pursuing vaccine. We really needed about 70% of the population to get vaccinated in order to get to herd immunity,” Dr. Suzanne Judd, UAB Professor in Public Health said.

In Alabama we have only about 1.7 million people with at least one dose of vaccine. That is about 36%.

Judd said 30-40 year old’s are the ones getting sick and they are the ones who are not vaccinated. She said while positive cases are stable, hospitalizations are still too high. Doctors believe this summer will continue to remain under control when it comes to the pandemic but in the fall as more people stay inside numbers could go up. So what will the new normal look like in Alabama?

“You will see some people still wearing masks because they are not feeling well or they don’t want to be in public without a mask on. You will see cases continuing to accumulate. You may see isolated outbreaks,” Judd said.

Dr. Judd said vaccinations will help contain the spread of COVID 19. She doesn’t put much faith in those who rely on antibodies after getting and recovering from the coronavirus.

“The folks who have antibodies from the infection we know those antibodies will fade eventually so we need folks to continue to get vaccinated,” Judd said.

Dr. Judd said the hospital continues to manage it’s vaccine supply by moving them to where they will be used. She said convincing those who are on the fence or opposed to getting the vaccines continues to be the biggest challenges for doctors.

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