Vaccine hesitancy dooms herd immunity effort in the US
In depressing news today, the New York Times writes that hopes for herd immunity in the United States are largely dead.
Vaccine take up continues to fall short of hopes and projections. At the same time, more-transmissible variants have raised the threshold needed to at least 80% from around 70% previously.
Polls show about 30% of Americans are reluctant to take a vaccine and even if the vaccine is approved for 12-15 year olds this week, those under-12 will be ineligible for many months.
Unnerving scenarios remain on the path to this long-term vision.
Over time, if not enough people are protected, highly contagious variants may develop that can break through vaccine protection, land people in the hospital and put them at risk of death.
"That's the nightmare scenario," said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University.