Vaccination gap leaving Wisconsin, U.S. behind herd immunity

Nearly 600,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin

WISCONSIN (WKBT) – Two million people, or 34.5 percent of Wisconsinites have completed their vaccine series.

No where near reaching herd immunity.

Herd immunity occurs when enough people in a community are immune to a certain infectious disease that the disease can no longer effectively spread from person to person.

That essential gives protection to everyone.

According to UW Health, the U.S. could reach herd immunity when 70 to 90 percent of the population is vaccinated.

Although roughly 600,000 Wisconsinites have tested positive for the virus, that won’t help Wisconsin reach herd immunity like vaccinations will.

“We know that natural immunity wanes and is not as significant as when we vaccinate individuals. So that timing is really going to depend upon how quickly and how robustly we have uptake of vaccination,” said UW Health senior medical director of primary care Matt Anderson, M.D..

Infection specialists with Gundersen Health System say everyone plays a roll in help keep community members safe.

“The big push is to instead of talking about herd immunity is just to really try to boost vaccination rates up as far as we can go to slow down infections. Because the reality is this virus is probably going to be with us for the rest of our lives,” said Gundersen Health System infection preventionist Megan Meller.

Until a vaccine is approved for children, about 20 percent of the population is ineligible.