San Jose reaches 85% vaccination rate for 1st doses; here's what that means for herd immunity

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of San Jose is the first of the ten largest cities in the United States to reach an 85% vaccination rate for first doses.

It is an accomplishment that leaders say has to do with everyone in the city.

"I really attribute our success to two sources," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "One is a county public health department that has been really hustling hard with a lot of non-profit partners in the city to really reach every corner of our community. Secondly, we have a community that really understands the importance of following public health guidance, getting vaccinated, following the science and we're blessed to live in a community like this one. As a result of that, we're all able to stay safer."

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As for local medical professionals' thoughts?

These numbers are a major accomplishment.

However, the 85% vaccinated only accounts for eligible San Jose residents over 12.

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With children under that age still unvaccinated, UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford says herd immunity may not quite be there yet.

But he says San Jose is on its way.

"Herd immunity not only includes vaccination, but it includes naturally acquired immunity," Dr. Rutherford said. "And in, at least, East San Jose where there were large outbreaks in December, January and into February this year, there is probably a lot of the population that has immunity from probably being infected already. So if you combine that with this impressive vaccination level, you're probably pretty close."

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Santa Clara County gained the nation's highest vaccination rate among large counties with 80% of residents ages 12 and older receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in mid-June.

Mayor Liccardo says 85% is nice, but it's just a start and it's only the first dose.

His message: if you aren't part of the 85% yet, get vaccinated.

If you are, get your second shot.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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