Can the United States reach herd immunity without these groups of white Republicans getting vaccinated?
There are a couple of ways to reach herd immunity. One is everybody gets sick. Another is everyone gets vaccinated. I guess a third is some people get sick and get immunity that way and others get vaccinated and we get to a level of immunity that makes the virus hard to spread.
But can we get to a place public health experts want us to get to? Tony Fauci has said we might need nearly 90 percent of the population vaccinated. If I’m doing back-of-the-envelope math, Donald Trump got almost 75 million votes. If about one-third of adult Republicans don’t want to get the vaccine, that’s 25 million. And that’s not necessarily including the communities of color where there still is vaccine hesitancy. So maybe 10 percent of all adults in the country could fall into this bucket of not wanting want a vaccine. Could we still get to herd immunity with enough other people getting vaccinated as well as people who don’t get vaccinated? That’s less ideal, because the more people who get sick with the coronavirus, the higher likelihood there is that mutated forms of the coronavirus will emerge. If I’m sick and I didn’t get the vaccine and I had COVID in my system for days or weeks, the virus can develop mutations that might emerge and make it harder for the vaccines in circulation to stop the mutated form from spreading.