CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It’s been a question on everybody’s mind: When will the pandemic end? It turns out, herd immunity could be the answer to ending it.
Michelle Galvan was at La Palmera Mall with her 18-year-old daughter on Friday. She said at first she was hesitant about getting the vaccine, but is now fully vaccinated. Her daughter was getting vaccinated at the mall on Friday.
Galvan said the reason she was so hesitant for her family to get the vaccine is because they have had adverse reactions to medications in the past. But Galvan is a nurse at Doctor’s Regional Hospital, and said seeing more patients with COVID-19, especially with the rise of the Delta variant, motivated her to get her family vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
“Some of the vaccinated people have also been sick, but they recover quicker than the people who have been unvaccinated,” she said.
Corpus Christi-Nueces County Health District Clinical Director Dr. Kim Onufrak said vaccines are how herd immunity has been achieved for other illnesses in the past.
“That is how we’ve eradicated a lot of our other diseases like polio, smallpox," she said. "The vaccines were made and the majority of the population were vaccinated and then we had herd immunity."
But there is another way to achieve herd immunity. According to Driscoll Children’s Hospital Infectious Diseases specialist Dr. Jaime Fergie, if the majority of the population gets the COVID-19 virus, herd immunity can also be possible.
However, he says, with more easily transmissible variants like the Delta variant, herd immunity is harder to achieve.
“When you have a virus that’s easier to transmit, you need more people to be immune in order to achieve that so-called 'herd immunity,' " he said. "And I think that now we’re talking about getting above 90 percent of the population immune."
Corpus Christi-Nueces County Health District Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez, as of Friday, 58.8 percent of Nueces County is vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rodriguez said they encourage people from other counties to come to Nueces County’s vaccination clinics, especially the one at La Palmera Mall, which is open every day of the week.
Corpus Christi-Nueces County Local Health Authority Dr. Srikanth Ramachandruni said the majority of the world needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to end the pandemic, not just our country.
“The Delta variant, since it’s very highly transmissible, we need an 85 to 90 percent population that need to be either immunized or get a natural infection,” Ramachandruni said.
The World Health Organization encourages people to get vaccinated rather than spread the disease, because spreading COVID-19 could cause unnecessary cases and death.