Update on Dallas County Reaching COVID Herd Immunity From PCCI CEO Steve Miff
In February, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) forecast that Dallas County had an opportunity to reach COVID herd immunity by mid-June. However, due to slowing vaccination rate, we have updated our forecast of Dallas County reaching the COVID herd immunity threshold to late-June with the possibility of falling back even further into July.
PCCI’s herd immunity forecasts in February was based on 80 percent of the county’s residents either having recovered from COVID-19 or having received vaccinations.
Today, herd immunity for the county is at 64 percent. While is represents progress, vaccination rates have slowed which is having a negative effect on our herd immunity forecast. The key driver making vaccine rates to regress include vaccine hesitancy and uptake, particularly in the working population.
While we’ve made great progress and to date vaccinated over 35% of the Dallas County population, including more than 73 percent of residents over 65 years old, the vaccination rates have been dropping, despite ample supply of vaccines and no wait times. In recent weeks, we’ve been averaging 45,000 vaccines administer per week, down from the mid and upper 60,000s in March. Therefore, due to the reductions in vaccinations, the herd immunity projections have been pushed to late June and could slip even further into July.
The longer it takes us to contain and crush COVID, the more chances the virus has to create new mutations that could be more transmissible, more deadly and more elusive to previously developed antibodies.
We encourage everyone to receive their COVID vaccination sooner than later. The quicker we can reach herd immunity the sooner we can return to safely interacting with our friends and families, teachers return to classes without fear and reduce the strain on our first responders, hospitals and their staff. But most importantly, reaching herd immunity via vaccines will help spare families the hardships of loved ones becoming ill or even losing their lives.
Steve Miff, PhD.
President & CEO
Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation