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Utah Doctor Estimates Herd Immunity Currently Around 30%

MURRAY, Utah — Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare said they were on alert for any kind of uptick in COVID-19 cases, but case counts were declining and immunity was on the rise in Utah as more people received their vaccines.

Many wondered if it was still too early for people who have been vaccinated to start gathering.

“We are still in a race between vaccinations and the variants,” said Dr. Brandon Webb, an infectious diseases physician.

Webb said he liked the progress in that race since each day, more than 20,000 Utahns were being vaccinated.

“Every week, more and more Utahns are vaccinated and have at least partial, and for many, full immunity,” said Webb.

As that number grows, Webb said the number of people susceptible to the virus shrinks.

Based on those who have either been vaccinated or recently had COVID, Webb estimated immunity in the community at around 30%.

“It doesn’t sleep,” Webb said of the virus. “It doesn’t care about the politics. It doesn’t care that we are all so tired of these precautions. It fully functions based upon the number of susceptible individuals in our community.”

As more are vaccinated, said they want to know when they can get together with others who are protected through either vaccination or prior illness.

“Be wise. Be careful about your environment. Know your own risk,” he said.

As a community, it’s not safe yet to gather without masks, but on an individual basis, Webb said those who have been fully vaccinated can make calculated decisions about getting together with others who are protected.

“It’s a person-by-person decision,” he said. “Not everyone should view the vaccine as a ticket to freedom yet, while we still have fairly high community transmission.”

People vaccinated due to health risks should continue to take every precaution until we have greater immunity in the community, he said.

“Making personal decisions about their individual risk becomes increasingly important because not everyone has the same level of risk. Not everyone has been vaccinated,” said Webb.

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