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Texas Getting Closer To Herd Immunity, Gov. Abbott Says

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Brooke Katz takes a deeper dive into herd immunity.

Video Transcript

- Governor Greg Abbott says that he believes the state of Texas is getting close to achieving herd immunity. Numbers don't exactly back that up, though, so where are we with all this? Brooke Katz working on that tonight with details along with what our local health experts have to say about what the governor said today.

BROOKE KATZ: And Doug, the governor made those comments during an interview over the weekend. Here's what he had to say.

GREG ABBOTT: More than 70% of our seniors have received a vaccine shot. More than 50% of those who are 50 to 65 have received the vaccine shot. I don't know what herd immunity is, but when you add that to that the people who have acquired immunity, it looks like it could be very close to herd immunity.

BROOKE KATZ: So let's talk about herd immunity. It really doesn't have a specific number. But in general, doctors have been saying that for COVID it would mean at least 70% of the population would have some sort of immunity, either after recovering from an infection or from being vaccinated. When we look at the current numbers for the state of Texas, roughly 24% of the population now fully vaccinated.

Even if you add in the more than 2,600,000 people who've recovered from the virus, you're still nowhere near 70% of the population. Dallas County's Health and Human Services Director says looking at vaccinations, recoveries, and even estimates for people who've had the virus but never had to get tested, he expects we could reach herd immunity maybe by mid to late June. But there's no guarantee.

PHIL HUANG: We're all optimistic about certainly getting more people vaccinated. We've got a lot of sites that are administering vaccine. Again, today, we hit our record number of over 12,000 delivered in one day. But we still have a long way to go. It is certainly too early to declare victory. As I mentioned, the variants that are circulating, we definitely have them in our community. Those are more easily transmitted. They've now become the dominant strain, I think, around the country.

BROOKE KATZ: Experts say hitting herd immunity really hinges on vaccines and slowing the spread, so continuing to take all the preventive measures that we've all really become so familiar with. Doug?

DOUG DUNBAR: As everybody is frustrated with them, they continue to help. Brooke, thank you so much.