How far is the US from herd immunity? It's closer than you may think

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nearly 7 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been shipped across California - 67% have been used to date. So how long will it take at our current pace to get to herd immunity?

Experts predict it could be close to seven years for the world to reach herd immunity, according to Bloomberg's vaccine tracker. For the United States, it's possible it could be a year away.

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The U.S. is administering around 1.4 million doses per day. At that pace, it's projected the nation will reach herd immunity with at least 70 to 80 percent of the population vaccinated just in time to ring in the start of 2022.

That's 11 months away.

ABC7 consulted Stanford Infectious Disease physician Dean Winslow.

"Do you agree with that prediction?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"I do," Winslow said. "That's very doable based on the fact we need to have close to 300 million immunized before we can get to that magic 75% of the population."

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White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announces a plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies around the country during a news conference on Tuesday, Fbe. 2.

UCSF lead epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford predicts it will happen even sooner.

"I think we may see it a bit earlier," Rutherford said. "Which would be a combination of vaccine acquired immunity and naturally acquired immunity."

"How soon?" Sierra asked.

"We may see it by the time we start going back to school by late August, something like that," he said.
Worldwide it's a different story.

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Currently, 4.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are being administered globally per day, according to Bloomberg's tracker. Experts suggest at that pace it will take close to seven years to get to herd immunity worldwide, taking into consideration over evolving variants.

"The British variant is totally susceptible to the vaccine," Rutherford pointed out. "The others, the South African, the Brazilian one maybe somewhat less so how is that going to fit into this whole puzzle?"

The good news is California is making steady progress.

ABC7's data analysis found the average number of doses administered per day in California have nearly doubled in the past few weeks. In mid-January, around 87,207 doses were administered per day. This week, around 173,763 doses were administered per day.

ABC7's Lindsey Feingold contributed to this report.

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