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“The vaccine provides a pretty good layer of protection, but no vaccine is 100-per-cent effective. Until we get to a point where a majority of the population is vaccinated, we’re still going to need to take some precautions. Herd immunity is when we don’t need precautions.”
What then, do we need to get to herd immunity? This has become extremely important because of the apparent uncertainty among experts on exactly what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to create herd immunity. Top U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, now says the range is 70 to 90 per cent, which raises the bar significantly. Fauci says initial estimates of 60 to 70 percent were based on old data.
Polls in Canada show 48 per cent of people willing to be vaccinated now. Another 31 per cent would take a wait-and-see approach, and 14 per cent say they won’t be vaccinated. More takers may be needed.
Which brings us to how long vaccine immunity lasts in real time. Anarson says clinical trials showed people were immune to COVID-19 for several months 95 per cent of the time, and one expects the immunity to last “weeks or months.” Beyond that “we don’t know right now.”
There is also “a possibility that people could still get COVID-19 when they are vaccinated, not become sick and give it to other people,” Anarson says.
Indeed, one important takeaway from the interview is that because of the extraordinary speed at which the vaccines were produced, there are things experts are still trying to work out. What’s not in doubt however, is that the vaccine is safe and effective, and everyone who is able to, should take it. “About 95 per cent of the time it protects people from getting sick with COVID-19. It provides good immunity,” he says.