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Doctors worry Louisiana may not reach herd immunity against COVID-19

Dr. Davis says while we may not hit herd immunity, she believes that New Orleans will come a lot closer than many other cities.

NEW ORLEANS — Since the Coronavirus vaccine was released late last year, the goal has been to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Herd immunity is the point when enough people are protected through vaccination or past infection to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“You want to have second lines again, you want to have Jazz Fest, then we need herd immunity,” Dr. Takeisha Charles Davis, CEO of New Orleans East Hospital said.

Health officials estimate about 70 to 80 percent of the country needs to be immune to suppress the spread of the disease.

Dr. Davis admits getting to that point may be a challenge.

She says the current supply of the vaccine is now outpacing demand.

“I am concerned that we are reaching a point where many of our community members through their hesitancy or just agnostic feeling towards the vaccine don’t think that they need it,” Davis said.

Rashaad Evans is not saying no, but he’s hesitant to get the shot.

“For me as a Black man, I guess most Black people do have questions about a lot of things, to be honest with you,” Evans said. “We’ve been lied to for a long time. You really don’t know what to trust, per se.”

Others say it’s time to roll up your sleeve.

“There’s a population of people who have been vaccinated and the death rate among that population is zero,” Will Ellzey, a retired physician said. “There’s a population of people who have not been vaccinated and about 500,000 of them have died.”

“I can understand people being nervous to have something like that near you or in your body,” another man named Nicholas said. “You don’t know where it’s coming from. This is kind of a take one for the team situation.”

Dr. Davis says while we may not hit herd immunity, she believes that New Orleans will come a lot closer than many other cities.

“Because of the general nature of how we live is in community with each other and for us to do that safely we need to get to herd immunity,” Davis said.

Dr. Davis says her team is now moving beyond mass vaccination sites and going into smaller venues like churches and community centers answering questions and giving shots.

“We’ve got to have grassroots efforts where we go and listen to what those concerns are, bring the information that we have available to us and have the vaccine readily available.”

In Louisiana about 31 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the Coronavirus vaccine.

About 24 percent is fully vaccinated.

Recent surveys indicate about a one in four Americans say they probably won’t get the shot.