This week, President Joe Biden said the US will have enough vaccine for every adult by the end of May, and a CNN analysis of the federal data shows that herd immunity is likely not far behind.
At the current pace of about 2 million shots a day – the last seven days average given by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the U.S. could achieve herd immunity through vaccination alone by the summer. It will likely be even sooner when considering people who may have natural immunity due to a previous infection.
The herd immunity thresholds for Covid-19 are currently only estimates. However, experts generally agree that between 70% and 85% of the population must be protected in order to suppress the spread, an area that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, recently quoted.
More than 8% of the population – nearly 28 million people – are already fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the CDC.
If vaccination continued at the current rate and the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna were the only options available, 70% of the US population could be fully vaccinated by mid-September.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose emergency vaccine. The company has promised to ship 100 million cans to the US in the first half of the year.
At the current pace of about 2 million doses per day, including 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine, 70% of the US population could be fully vaccinated by late July and 85% by mid-September, according to a CNN analysis .
The CDC estimates that more than a quarter of the population may be infected with Covid-19, bringing the proportion of the population already protected to almost a third. Assuming there is no overlap between people with natural immunity and people protected by vaccinations, herd immunity could be achieved as early as June.
Experts note that some new variants jeopardize progress, may reduce vaccine protection, and bypass some level of natural immunity, and hesitation in vaccine can also lead to limitations.