coronavirus in connecticut

Infectious Disease Experts Explain Herd Immunity

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On Thursday, 1.3 million people in the state will be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine and we'll be one step closer to herd immunity.

With the demand for the vaccine increasing daily, it's presenting an opportunity for widespread immunity for the coronavirus.

"It essentially prevents ongoing transmission of a virus or some other infection in the community," said Dr. David Banach, an infectious disease physician at UConn Health. "Herd immunity typically happens through natural infection or through vaccination to be able to prevent ongoing transmission of a virus or other infection in the community."

The best strategy to use right now is vaccines, according to Banach.

"Vaccinating those individuals who have not been infected in order to ensure that their immune and prevent them from becoming infected and spreading to others," said Banach. "We need to ensure those individuals may have had COVID in the past and may now have temporary immunity now are able to get that long-term immunity."

Health districts and departments along with community health centers are key pieces to the puzzle by administering shots hosting pop-up clinics, and sometimes hitting the streets and going door-to-door.

"The niche we're trying to find here in Middletown is those hard to reach populations," said Kevin Elak, acting director of health for Middletown. "We want to bring the vaccination to the people and that's going to be one of the ways that we reach heard immunity eventually."

Middletown's health department is aware of their role to reach a common goal.

"We hope to continue with our outreach and that by bringing the vaccine to the people, we're making it easier to achieve herd immunity," Elak said.

Medical experts are still asking the public to take precautions until we reach a larger scale of immunity among kids and adults.

"I think our goal right now is to kind of hold strong with our public health intervention, distancing by doing all we can to prevent spreading the virus," said Banach.

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