MARIN COUNTY, Calif. - The hope that the Bay Area may one day reach herd immunity is getting closer, but we still have a way to go. Marin County is leading the way at this point with 60% of its eligible population being fully vaccinated against COVID-19; the highest rate of vaccination in the Bay Area.
At the Larkspur Ferry Terminal the Marin County Health Department continues to give "stop and shot" vaccinations to willing county residents.
"We haven't achieved, the goal we need, you know, we need much higher vaccination rates to really be fully protected as a community" said Marin County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matt Willis.
Nonetheless, the progress in Marin has been remarkable. Eighty-two percent of our residents have had one dose, only 60% have had two and then a smaller number are in that two weeks after the second dose where actually their bodies are immune. So, we still remain vulnerable," said Dr. Willis,
But, perhaps not for long thanks to the residents who long for so-called herd or community immunity.
"A population that is, by and large, following the science, recognizing the benefit of the vaccine and eager to be vaccinated. You know, we could reach 90% vacination which would I think put us in a much bette place with regard to putting this overall pandemic behind us"' said Willis.
"Herd immunity is gonna be reached at different areas at different times," said UC Berkeley infectious disease expert Dr. John Swartzberg.
Those who fear the vaccine itself or vaccination or needles or side effects or any of many reasons, remain vulnerable to full-blown COVID and because of viral variants and mutations, it makes community immunity more difficult.
"If the virus can get from one person to another with greater alacrity, it's the number of people that have to be immune goes up and right now we're talking about something that's much closer to 75% to 85% of the population," said Dr. Swartzberg. The vaccine can set more and more of us free. "We can knock this virus down, to such a low level that we can go on with our normal lives and feel much better about it," said Swartzberg.
Both doctors warn that California is still recording some 50,000 infection cases a month. To truly manage COVID-19, we must get down to 10,000 cases a month. So, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.