Huntsville infectious disease specialist explains progress in reaching herd immunity

He said 60% to 70% of people need to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.

Posted: Apr 12, 2021 6:54 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2021 7:05 PM

Dr. Ali Hassoun, an infectious disease specialist in Huntsville, said more people need to get vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.

“If we keep encouraging people to vaccinate, it might be probably two months from now,” said Dr. Hassoun.

Right now, between 20% and 30% of people are fully vaccinated in the state. He said 60% to 70% of people need to be vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity.

Dr. Hassoun said mass vaccination clinics are key. Huntsville Hospital released an online application that allows you to make an appointment for a vaccine. On Apr. 19, Athens Limestone Hopsital’s vaccine clinic will allow walk-ins in all eligibility groups.

People in downtown Huntsville said they know we haven’t reached herd immunity yet, but that the state is getting close to it.

"Moving in the right direction, yeah, but it'll take longer," said Tyron Mckune, a Huntsville resident. 

"I don't think we're quite there yet, as a nation or Alabama, but I think we'll soon be there as more and more people get vaccinated," said Reid Killen, a Huntsville resident.

Mckune said some people are just too anxious about taking the mask off.

“They’re not thinking health reasons or how it affects the COVID numbers going up,” said Mckune.

The UK variant is the most dominant strain of the virus in the country. Hospitalizations of young people across the country have gone up. More hospitalizations mean there’s a greater risk of young people having virus complications.

Dr. Hassoun said that’s because children 12 years old to 15 years old aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet. The UK variant is more transmittable, which means adolescents that aren't vaccinated are at a greater risk of spreading the virus to each other. 

Last month, 10% of Alabamians were vaccinated in the state. The percentage is slowly increasing. Dr. Hassoun warns that not wearing a mask could delay reaching herd immunity in the next few months. 

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