SM County Asks: Herd Immunity: What is it? What will it take?

SM County Asks: Herd Immunity: What is it? What will it take?

San Miguel County is among the top in the state for vaccine administration.

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According to a recent NPR/Marist poll, one in four Americans said they would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine outright if offered. Another 5% are “undecided” about whether they would get a vaccine.

As cases begin to rise again and the prevalence of variants increases across the United States, vaccine rollout has become increasingly critical to avoid another wave of outbreaks. This week, President Joe Biden ordered all states to expand eligibility to adults beginning April 19.

Public health officials say to reach herd immunity, the point at which COVID-19 can no longer spread easily between people and transmission slows to a halt, 70% to 85% of the nation’s residents need to be immune. At this level of immunity, life could return to some semblance of normal.

“The more unvaccinated people we have, the greater the potential for spread, or worse, for the virus to mutate,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “Often with viruses like COVID-19, studies show that mutations could develop resistance to a developed vaccine which could put our high-risk populations at risk yet again.”

Roughly 18% of the population of San Miguel County is made up of children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. The current vaccines in circulation can protect those 16 years of age and older from severe illness or death from COVID-19. Should the virus continue to circulate at increasing rates, a more infectious variant could take over and communities with low immunity could be at greatest risk.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, San Miguel County currently ranks first in the state amongst counties for the percent of eligible population with one or more doses of any COVID-19 vaccine. With 69.3% of the eligible population of San Miguel County having received at least one dose, 6,758 vaccine doses have been administered to county residents to-date. 2,694 residents are fully vaccinated, accounting for 33% of the county’s total population.

Vaccine clinics will continue throughout the month offering Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine as well as first and second doses of Moderna for those 18 years of age and older. 16- and 17-year-olds are able to find Pfizer vaccines through regional pharmacies by visiting

On Saturday, April 10, Public Health hosts a vaccination clinic to administer a record number of 600 doses, the previous record being 544 administered in a single afternoon. With appointments available throughout April, including Saturday, residents interested in receiving a Moderna or Janssen vaccine should register online:

Public Health has confirmed five new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from April 6 through April 9. Of these cases, four are confirmed as residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation.

As of release time today, there have been 855 total COVID cases among residents to date with 7 active cases.

To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

50-year-old male, nonresident, symptomatic, community
44-year-old male, resident, asymptomatic, community
44-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, community
26-year-old male, resident, symptomatic, community
11-year-old male, resident, asymptomatic, community

Five Commitments of Containment:

Wear a mask
Maintain six feet of physical distance
Minimize group size
Wash hands frequently
Stay home when sick and get tested

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