St Catharines Immunology professor says 90 per cent vaccination rate will be needed to reach COVID-19 herd immunity
Published July 13, 2021 at 8:26 pm
Brock University immunologist Adam MacNeil believes that Canada will need a 90 per cent fully vaccinated rate to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.
According to data released today (July 13), slightly more than half of all eligible Canadians – 50.06 per cent – are now fully vaccinated, a long way still from 90 per cent.
However, factoring in children under 12 years of age, the actual percentage of fully vaccinated Canadian is just 44 per cent.
In a recent interview with the St Catharines campus newspaper, The Brock News, MacNeil suggested it will take a “national conversation” to reach Canadians reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are at a pivot point and need to elevate and disseminate the conversation into communities, leveraging all of our experts and their messages to create one unified, culturally-sensitive national voice that will reach those pockets of people who are hesitant because of misinformation or perhaps for ideological reasons,” MacNeil told the newspaper.
MacNeil said it’s going to take individuals reaching out to reluctant family members, neighbours and colleagues in their personal networks to provide support for vaccination.
He believes trust is key to changing the minds of those hesitating to be vaccinated.
“I don’t think just pounding on the table saying, ‘vaccines work, you have to get it,’ is the solution in those cases,” he told the paper. “It comes from genuine conversations with people they trust.”
With the new Delta and Lambda variants of COVID-19 quickly spreading, MacNeil acknowledged that it’s pointless to try urging hardcore anti-vaxxers, always touting the latest conspiracy theories but rather he believes there’s a segment of the unvaccinated population who would be willing to take the needles.
Among the issues facing them could be seniors unfamiliar with computers not being able to online book, employees who don’t feel they can take the time off work and is similarly worried the after-effects may waylay them for a few days or even cultural differences where communities speaking a different language don’t understand the process.
As for those who simply don’t believe the vaccines work, MacNeil cited figures from Ontario’s new Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, who recently said that between May 15 and June 12, nearly 99 per cent of COVID cases in Ontario involved individuals who were not fully vaccinated.
With the latest social media gambit among resistors being “If everyone around me is fully vaccinated, I don’t need to be,” MacNeil points out they are not taking into account the totality of their community which includes children under 12, people who are immuno-compromised, as well as the many who have had various types of medical conditions or recent surgeries and require immune-suppressant medications.
Given the stark difference between 50 and 90 percent vaccinated rates, it would seem the fight against COVID-19 is still far from over for Canadians.
(Adam MacNeil photo courtesy of Brock University)insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies