PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Now that the Biden administration has indicated there will be enough vaccines for every American by May — we wanted to find out how long it will take for our communities to reach herd immunity.
Vaccine scientists have long said that 70-80% of the population needs to get vaccinated to truly meet community immunity. That’s the moment when enough people are immune to the disease that the virus dies out.
Governor Kate Brown believes all Oregonians can at least get their first dose by the end of May. With that in mind, the two main vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna — require a second dose about a month later. This indicates that substantial vaccination work will continue into June and the following summer months.
Furthermore, people won’t be considered “fully vaccinated” until 14 days after their final dose.
Looking at Oregon’s numbers, about 3.3 million people — out of Oregon’s nearly 4.3 million total population — would need to be fully vaccinated in order to reach that 70-80% vaccination mark.
However, because no vaccine exists yet for children, Oregon would need to vaccinate virtually all of its 18 and older population of 3.3 million to meet that benchmark. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 20% of Oregon’s population is under 18.
As a reminder — only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for teenagers aged 16 and 17.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, nearly 14% of Oregon’s population is fully vaccinated. OHA officials said Thursday they have administered 1,577,638 vaccinations. At least 1,019,135 people have at least initiated their COVID-19 vaccination series. There are about 3.3 million people in Oregon at least 18 years old, which means the state is nearing a level of 1-in-3 people vaccinated.
Looking at those numbers, it is too difficult to pinpoint when we’d reach herd immunity — but we know this will require robust participation in vaccinations.