The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 246,780,203 Covid vaccine doses have been administered, with 105,523,520 people given both doses. But Dr Anthony S. Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s top adviser on Covid, acknowledged experts have accepted herd immunity is not likely to be achieved.
Dr Fauci shared how US medical experts have changed their goals from herd immunity to controlling through vaccines.
He said: “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is.
“That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense.
“I’m saying: Forget that for a second.
“You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”
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Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the New York Times Covid variants mean continued vaccinations will be critical to limiting the severity of outbreaks, if not their frequency.
He told the outlet: “The virus is unlikely to go away.
“But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”
Dr Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also told the outlet vaccination coverage varies from area to area, and added: “Disease transmission is local.
“If the coverage is 95 percent in the United States as a whole, but 70 percent in some small town, the virus doesn’t care.
“It will make its way around the small town.”
Mr Biden will give an update later today on the country’s progress in curbing Covid, after admitting confusion on whether herd immunity is achievable.
The President was asked by a reporter about herd immunity, to which he replied: “There’s a debate about what constitutes herd immunity.”
But Mr Biden also said “by the end of the summer, we’ll be in a very different position” regardless of the precise percentage of immunity in the US.
It comes as CDC data shows around two in five Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid.
In the US, 105,523,520 people have been given both vaccine doses as of Monday morning, which is equal to around 31.6 percent of the population.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC: “We’re not going to get everyone vaccinated.
“If we can get two-thirds of the population vaccinated or a little bit better than that, that’s going to be a pretty good level of protection.”
Over the last week, the US has averaged 2.4 million reported vaccinations per day.
Data from Johns Hopkins University also shows the rate of infection is falling in the US, with an average of 49,000 cases per day.