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What is 'herd immunity' and how can it be achieved? Medical expert explains

Medical expert, Dr. Salim Surani says there are two ways a community can achieve 'herd immunity.'

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Herd Immunity, It's a term that been talked about around the world, but what exactly does it mean?

According to the CDC, 'herd immunity' is this:

'A situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through a vaccine and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely'.

Medical expert, Dr. Salim Surani said there are two ways a community can achieve this:

"Number one: either you have a person who is infected and has developed antibody or you have a vaccination, and that person has antibody," said Dr. Surani.

He said with recovered COVID-19 patients and vaccinated residents combined, 'herd immunity' is still way down the road.

"We have about 7 or 8 percent of the population which have been infected and on the other hand we have about 3 percent of the people who have been vaccinated, so that's about 10 or 11 percent," Dr. Surani added.

Dr. Chris Bird with the task force said, so far, not one country has reached 'herd immunity,' however, some countries have been able to cut back on almost all restrictions. He said the entire Coastal Bend doesn't have to wait for the vaccine to get on the other side of the pandemic. All we have to do, is take COVID-19 serious and do our part in stopping the spread.

"Countries where people are able to not wear masks, those are the countries where they were able to control COVID to the point where almost nobody has it," said Dr. Bird.

They said the overall goal among medical experts is to vaccinate the world, but that could take longer than we think.

"To get the global vaccination, it's going to take a whole year and even extend into 2022," said Dr. Surani.

Because it'll take a long time, it is up to us to bring the infection rate down. They said countries like New Zealand and Australia already did away with mask mandates; and they did that without achieving herd immunity. Instead, the majority of residents followed all CDC health protocols.

Experts say, if they can do it, so can we.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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