Herd Immunity

Removal of Mask Mandate Doesn't Affect Projected Herd Immunity Timelines: Researchers

Herd immunity depends on two things: wearing masks and getting vaccinated

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Despite the governor's decision to end the statewide mask mandate, researchers predict we could still reach herd immunity in Dallas County by sometime this summer.

Projections from researchers at Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation show just how close Dallas County is to reaching herd immunity.

According to the center's CEO Steve Miff, they estimate 11% of the Dallas County residents have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine and 36% of residents have antibodies from beating the virus.

Dallas County is at 45% towards herd immunity, which is when 70 to 80% of the population is immune.

"Now is not the time to let our guard down. We need to minimize our own risk of getting infected, particularly when we are so close," said Miff.

The projections do include an expected uptick in cases following spring break and Easter but it also includes 43,000 Dallas County residents getting vaccinated each week.

If there's more supply to bump that up to 65,000 residents a week, Miff says the county could reach herd immunity by mid-June.

"This is a timing game for sure. That's why the earlier, the faster we get to herd immunity, the more we reduce the potential for new variants to have a significant impact," said Miff.

If the current pace of vaccination continues, as well as continued behavior when it comes to personal protection, Miff estimates the county will reach herd immunity by mid-August.

Miff says infections might accelerate in some areas within certain demographics, but they can be balanced by the accelerated timeframe for the availability of vaccines and pace of vaccinations.

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