ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – How long will it take until Florida can reach herd immunity? According to the World Health Organization, herd or general population immunity for COVID-19 is at least 60-70%. Several Central Florida health officials say a higher percentage of immunity is needed.
Dr. Ali Mokdad with the University of Washington, alongside his colleagues at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, has been tracking COVID-19 numbers since the beginning of the pandemic. Mokdad said he predicts Florida will reach herd immunity by summer.
“Sometime in May, June Florida will go back to what we call semi-normal or quasi-normal,” Mokdad said. “If you get the vaccine, you build antibodies for the disease and again we don’t know this vaccine, how long it will last.”
News 6 created a chart compiling data from the Florida Department of Health, tracking how many people have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The information shows about half a million of Florida’s nearly 22 million residents have been inoculated. This number amounts to about 3% of the state’s population.
Dr. Todd Husty with Seminole County government said herd immunity might not be reached until late summer.
“The prediction is that we have to have 70 to 80% of the population vaccinated to have the herd effect that has to really see it from the vaccine. That could be eight months away,” Husty said.
Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said the higher the percentage of the population vaccinated, the better. He said not knowing how many doses of a vaccine the county will receive and when makes it hard to predict when herd immunity will be reached.
“It depends on how quickly we can give out vaccines and how we can get vaccines. Florida, I believe has the second largest number of vaccinated individuals in the nation,” Pino said.
Pino also said there were almost 2,000 people vaccinated at the Orange County Convention Center on Friday, bringing their total to more than 35,000.