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Did Israel recently reach ‘herd immunity’ already?

Experts suggest Israel — which has been rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine rather well — may have hit the ultimate goal

Palestinian laborer who works in Israeli settlements receive second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Barkan industrial area near of the West Bank town of Nablus, Sunday, April 11, 2021.
A Palestinian laborer who works in Israeli settlements receive a second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Barkan industrial area near of the West Bank town of Nablus, Sunday, April 11, 2021.
Majdi Mohammed, Associated Press

Israel may have hit some level of herd immunity already, a big win in the ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus, according to The Times of Israel.

Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, recently told The Times of Israel that the country reached “a sort of herd immunity” with 4.9 million people fully vaccinated and a 97% drop in case numbers.

  • “It is possible that Israel has reached a sort of herd immunity and regardless, we have a wide safety net,” Segal said. “I think that makes it possible to remove some of the restrictions immediately.”
  • Segal said recent religious holiday events such as Purim and Passover did not lead to a spike in cases.
  • “If confirmed, Israel could be the first country in the world to hit the milestone of herd immunity,” according to The Times of Israel.

Why herd immunity is important

Experts believe herd immunity — where enough people have been protected against the novel coronavirus, either through antibodies or the COVID-19 vaccine — will be met when 70% of people are protected, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

So, really, herd immunity will likely lead to the return to normal.

How close is the United States?

Axios reports that the United States will hit a “vaccine wall” soon. This could happen because the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine meets the demand for it. Experts will soon turn their focus “to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated” since the majority of those who want the vaccine will have gotten it.

So far, about 20% of all Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and one-third of the U.S. has received at least one shot, according to CNBC.