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Health officials urge importance of reaching herd immunity as some refuse vaccinations

Updated: Feb. 7, 2021 at 9:19 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Health officials are urging the importance of getting vaccinated to reach resistance to the virus through herd immunity.

Dr. Muhammad Babar with UofL Health says he thinks the city of Louisville will reach herd immunity when two-thirds of the city is vaccinated.

However, because the virus is evolving, everyone should keep in mind that the more people vaccinated, the sooner lives can go back to normal.

The goal is to vaccinate the majority of the community to create herd immunity, a form of protection where virus spread is kept under control due to the amount of people protected through vaccines. Dr. Babar says as this virus mutates, there’s no way of knowing exactly when we can reach that goal.

“We do not know the exact numbers out there because our information is by the minute,” Babar said. “So we can not for sure say that this percentage of herd immunity will achieve the goal.”

Louisville Metro Health officials say we have vaccinated nearly or more than 10 percent of the city’s population so far.

“Overall in Louisville, I’m seeing the trend that, as time is passing by more and more people are willing to take the vaccination,” Babar said.

Babar said he’s noticing younger people are more opposed to getting vaccinated than our seniors, but says even some people in Phase 1 of vaccinations initially questioned the shot.

Reports show that less than half of the staff in Kentucky’s long-term care facilities have been vaccinated because many have refused.

“We actually visit each facility three times. not just two, and that’s giving an opportunity for staff who were originally hesitant,” Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said. “I don’t believe they were firmly opposed to it, they just wanted to see others get it first.”

Beshear said many of those people in Phase 1 who refused the shot are now willing to get it. Dr. Babar is encouraging people who are skeptical of the vaccine to trust the facts and get vaccinated when you can.

“The higher the rate of vaccination is, the better chances we have to curb this disease,” Babar said, “and the sooner we achieve this goal, the sooner we can go back to our normal lives.”

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