The media outlet, which said it built the “biggest database” of COVID-19 inoculations given across the globe, crunched the numbers and found it could take most of a decade to reach herd immunity if distribution doesn’t ramp up for two-dose vaccines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said 70-85 percent of the population will need the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity and while the US is on track to reach that goal by the New Year in 2022, it could take countries like Canada ten years at their current pace.
More than 119 million doses have been doled out worldwide but Bloomberg’s tracker shows some countries, mostly rich, Western locales, are reaching 75% coverage much faster than others.
For example, Israel is on track to see 75% coverage by the spring but it could take Portugal four years, China seven years and Latvia almost nine years to reach herd immunity if vaccine distributions don’t change.
The calculations are, of course, “volatile,” Bloomberg explained, especially with rollout that’s just a few months old and still marred with supply disruptions.
Canada’s vaccination rate was cut in half recently after the country faced delays in shipments but as long as their contracts to buy more doses per person than any other country moves forward, they won’t be stuck in pandemic hell for a decade.
The outlet noted the pace is expected to accelerate worldwide as more and more jabs become available — they pointed to major vaccine-manufacturing hubs in India and Mexico and said production is just getting started and only a third of countries have started vaccine campaigns.
Bloomberg’s calculator is based on two doses for full vaccination and will be tweaked once the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, which only requires one dose, is made available. While the inoculations haven’t been approved for children, Bloomberg included kids in their calculation because they too can be infected, and transmit, the virus.
The calculator does not account for any level of natural immunity experienced by those who’ve previously had the virus — the CDC has said some immunity is offered after an infection but they’re not clear on how long it lasts.
A study by Mount Sinai published last week in the preprint server MedRxiv found reinfection is “common” among young people, especially those who had very mild cases or no symptoms at all when they had the bug. The researchers involved urged governments to include young, previously infected people in vaccine distribution.
Another study published this week suggested those who’ve had the virus may only need one dose of the vaccine.
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