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Local doctor weighs in on COVID-19 herd immunity in 2021

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:19 PM CST
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Herd immunity for COVID-19 has been a hot topic for U.S. health care experts. A local doctor shares his thoughts on herd immunity and if it’s possible to reach this year.

“This is all new to all of us. The short term data is there but there’s not long term data so it makes it really difficult for us to answer that question,” said Dr. Harvey Castro, ER doctor and President of Trusted ER.

Castro says herd immunity for COVID-19 can be reached when 70% of the population either gets COVID-19 or is vaccinated.

“Herd immunity basically is if we can obtain 70% then the likelihood of COVID to continue to spread the way we see it today will cease to happen,” said Castro.

The percentage needed for herd immunity is determined by how infectious a disease is.

“When mumps that is really contagious, is more contagious than COVID, we needed 90% of the population to be vaccinated. And so in a way it’s good that we don’t need 90, we need 70,” said Castro.

Castro says there are hurdles to get to herd immunity like vaccine shortage and opposition of the vaccine which he believes will prevent herd immunity in 2021.

“Roughly they estimate 20% of the population says they will not get the COVID vaccine. And so then now the question for healthcare officials are how can we get that 20% to get the vaccine?” said Castro.

But with more education, he says it is possible.

“Obviously the smoother things go the faster we’ll get there. The more obstacles obviously people are scared, that 20% , and I totally understand why, but with that said as time goes on and new vaccines come out and different technologies are used for that then I think the population will trust the vaccine more and more,” said Castro.

He says it is especially possible for Texoma.

“It makes sense for the smaller towns that don’t get so much traffic in and out that if the majority of the town, say 70% or more got it, then they would notice a big dip in their infectious rate,” said Castro.

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