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Texas aims for herd immunity while vaccine numbers still fall short

But what is it going to take to get to herd immunity? The short answer is more shots in more arms.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The race is on to achieve herd immunity. That happens when enough people in a community become immune to a disease to significantly slow the spread.

But what is it going to take to get to get there? The short answer is more shots in more arms.

“We have long ways to go,” said Dr. Praphul Joshi, director of Public Health Program at Lamar University.

There is one goal the state is currently trying to meet, but we're not there just yet. In Texas, about 26 percent of people have been fully vaccinated. In order to reach herd immunity, the state must fall between the 75 percent to 90 percent vaccination levels.

But what exactly is herd immunity?
“All the people in that given location or that given space, have a certain amount of protection from the immune system for certain infections in this particular case we're talking about COVID-19,” said Beaumont Dr. Msonthi Levine.

A certain amount of protection, meaning those who are fully vaccinated.

“And just in Jefferson County itself, we have close to 33 percent of the population, who have received at least one dose and close to 21 percent, who are fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Joshi.

Compare those numbers to Hardin County. 29.50 percent of Hardin County residents received at least one dose. 21 percent are fully vaccinated while numbers still fall short compared to the rest of the nation. 

Dr. Joshi says we've made tremendous improvement with our senior citizens.
“So, as of today we have close to about 65 percent of those who are 65 plus in the county who are vaccinated at least for one dose and about 49 percent of them or fully vaccinated,” Dr. Joshi said.

In Hardin County, 62.81 percent of those who are 65 and older have at least one dose. 51.12 percent of seniors are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Levine says this isn't the first time the country is fighting for herd immunity.
“Everybody talks about the Spanish Flu back in the day 1917,” Dr. Levine said. So, although we're not there yet, Dr. Joshi is hopeful we'll be there soon.

“In the next month or two, we should be definitely making big strides,” Dr. Joshi said.

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