News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health & Wellness

Dallas County Could Reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity By June

Soldier swabbing the shoulder of someone getting vaccinated in their car.
LM Otero
/
AP
A soldier in a face mask prepares to administer a dose of the Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Dallas.

The president and CEO of the Parkland Center For Clinical Innovation talks about the need for Dallas County to ramp up vaccinations to reach herd immunity by mid-June.

Officials say Dallas County could reach COVID-19 “herd immunity” by mid-June thanks to a combination of factors, including people getting the vaccination, as well the number of people who've recovered after getting sick.

Steve Miff is President and CEO of the Parkland Center For Clinical Innovation, which issued the estimate.

He joined KERA's Justin Martin to talk about the findings.

On what 'herd immunity' means

The easiest way to describe it is enough people in the community, and the numbers have been around 80%, reach a personal level of immunity and that either through vaccinations or through those steps, have had the disease and recovered, where any further spread of the disease is being contained and there's more and more people actually do become immune, then over time, the virus fades away.

On the percentage of people in Dallas County who've received a vaccine or have been infected with COVID-19

When you combine those factors, we are about 44%. We're more than halfway there. If the initial target is 80%, we have 36% more to go. So we are more than halfway there. I think we also have a path of what I'll call it an aggressive but realistic path to get there.

What that means is if we look at what we need to do from a vaccination perspective to get to the mid-June herd immunity target is we have to vaccinate on average about 65,000 individuals per week. So that, again, it's something that I believe is achievable, but certainly it's aggressive and will take a lot of work.

The first couple of weeks for context in February; we've been vaccinating about 45,000. So we have a bit of a makeup to do, but with the recent approval of the J and J vaccine, continued supply on the Pfizer, Moderna, and the continuing efforts to register more people and make that as convenient as possible, we believe that we can get there.

On the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

It's going to make a big difference and particularly this being a different approach, not only scientifically, but also, being able to be more mobile. I think we're going to be able to do more mobile vaccination clinics with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It's going to be important for communities that are more vulnerable and have a harder time to get to some of the existing drive-through sites.

The other I think advantage is a single dose. Just logistically both for individuals and families not having to come twice, but also for those that are administering and planning the vaccines, having that single dose will help a lot.

We need to get more shots in arms and by having a third vaccine, more supply, it's going to be I think a very welcome addition to an already a very robust portfolio.

Steve Miff is the President and CEO of the Parkland Center For Clinical Innovation

Interview highlights were lightly edited for clarity.

Got a tip? Email Justin Martin at Jmartin@kera.org. You can follow Justin on Twitter @MisterJMart.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.