Expert weighs in on a potential COVID-19 vaccine and herd immunity

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 8:00 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Nowadays it's rather difficult to know what to believe and what not to, especially when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines and herd immunity.

Vaccines work by taking a killed or weakened part of the germ to fool our immune system into thinking we have been infected.

When the immune system thinks this, it fights off the virus creating a response in the body that begins creating antibodies.

This topic garnered more attention after Dr. Anthony Fauci made remarks last week that he doesn’t think a vaccine for COVID-19 would work because 30-40% of the population would elect to not get it.

“I believe they are very safe,” said Don Putzier, M.D., a pediatrician at the Mankato Clinic Children’s Health Center. “They are extensively tested. When a vaccine is developed, typically they go through animal trials first, followed by human trials until they determine it is safe and effective for whatever age we want to give the vaccine for.”

Herd immunity is where enough people are immune to an illness that other people in the population who are not immune are far less likely to catch it.

"Herd Immunity is very important because we have people who cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions or we have people who don't want to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons so if we have achieved herd immunity, we are indirectly protecting those other people from getting sick," added Putzier.

Illnesses such as measles need 95% of the population to have antibodies to achieve herd immunity. Estimations for COVID-19 herd immunity are between 60-70%.

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