Medical experts fear we may not reach herd immunity

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - National and local health experts are voicing the fear that not enough people will get the vaccines to cause herd immunity.

Ed Minton received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday. He believes others that are hesitant about it should go ahead and get it, too.

“I really do, whether you believe it or not, you should. Because if you’re tired of wearing [a mask] for so long, and you’re tired of not being able to go out, stuck in the house all day? Get it!” Minton said.

But Minton was one of only a few getting their vaccines Monday at the Laurel County Health Department.

“We are probably vaccinating 10 persons a day. Three to four weeks ago, maybe a couple of months ago, we were vaccinating 80-140 persons a day,” said Mark Hensley with the Laurel Co. Health Department.

Just over 21% of Laurel County has been vaccinated. National heath leaders have said they needed 70-80% to reach herd immunity and express doubt it will be reached.

“We have all the tools we need to see us through this pandemic. Ample enough to vaccines, plenty of PPE,” Hensley said.

Last week a vaccine clinic operated by FEMA opened in London. Officials won’t say how many people were vaccinated from Wednesday to Saturday, but they say it was a lot slower than expected. Similar sights at mobile clinics such as one in Mt. Vernon where no one attended by noon of the day we were there.

“If you don’t want to get your vaccinations, stay in the house. Let those that want to do what they want to do get it, if you don’t want to get it, stay in the house,” Minton said.

“I really feel all of those who want to get vaccinated have been vaccinated. It’s so easy to get it now,” Hensley said.

Health leaders say those concerned about the vaccine should just call their doctor for more information.

Health leaders also say it’s likely that variants will require a third booster shot later this year and if people don’t get that, even those that have the other doses, will eventually lose their protection.

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