CivicScience | Most Believe COVID-19 Herd Immunity is Far Away–If It Happens At All

Healthcare

Most Believe COVID-19 Herd Immunity is Far Away–If It Happens At All

Image Credit: Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

More sighs of relief can be heard around the country this week as coronavirus cases continue to gradually decline. While the numbers are still high in the grand scheme of things, and the death toll approaches half a million, confirmed COVID-19 case numbers dropped below a 100,000 daily average late last week.

As states scramble to open up mass vaccine sites and expand inoculation eligibility, they are still facing a big problem with supply. It can’t keep up with the demand, try as it might. But facing a growing threat of newer and potentially more powerful variants, the country is gradually getting more and more people vaccinated.

According to CivicScience data, there is a continued gradual upward trend in the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine over the last two weeks. And, again, as a result we’re observing the percentage of American adults who would opt for the vaccine right away go down. It has hit a ceiling, so to speak. 

The noticeable uptick in vaccinated people is encouraging, but it still begs the question: can the race to ramp up inoculation help keep the virus at bay?

While supply issues persist, things are looking up a bit: there has been a steady decline of people who say they are eligible but have been unable to get their shot over the past two weeks.

Opt-In Among Parents of Minors Continues to Rise

Dr. Anthony Fauci said vaccines for children could come as early as September of this year, much to the delight of many parents. Continued CivicScience tracking shows that parents are increasingly keen on getting their children vaccinated immediately. The percentage of parents who say they would get their minor children signed up for a shot right away climbed to 42% from 30% in January.

An End in Sight?

New case declines are said to be the effect of following proper mitigation efforts by everyday people–not yet the result of vaccination efforts. When it comes to progress from the vaccination campaign itself, achieving herd immunity (achieved when an estimated 70% to 90% of the population are immune to COVID by way of vaccination combined with people who have already had the virus) is pretty far off in most people’s minds. At least according to a CivicScience survey, which found that the majority of the 2,900 U.S. adults surveyed think that immunity from COVID will come sometime after next winter–and 20% don’t think it will ever happen.

Those who have already received or will receive the vaccine are more likely to believe that an end is on the horizon, while those who will not receive a vaccine are the most likely to say they don’t think the population will ever achieve herd immunity from COVID-19. However, those who will not get the vaccine are also more optimistic that we’ll reach this immunity milestone as soon as this spring.

Getting Back to Normal

Speaking of an end in sight to all of this, when will fully vaccinated people feel comfortable getting back to activities that they may have put aside for a year now?

The answer is: most people plan to still wait it out for three or more months after they get their shots*.

*(Rebased by those who will get the vaccine and excluding those who are already comfortable with these activities.)

While the race to ramp up doling out doses of the vaccine continues, and as the nation awaits more supply that is promised this spring or summer, amid warnings of more lethal variants, CivicScience will continue to track sentiment among the general public and report out on an ongoing basis.

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