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Achieving “herd immunity” is unlikely in the United States, experts say

A better approach would be for the trusted figure to address the root cause of hesitation – fear, mistrust, delusions, easy access or a desire for more information, said Mary Politie, a health decision and health communications expert at the University of Washington in St. Louis. .

People often have to see others in their social circle embracing something before they are ready to try, Dr. Politie said. Emphasizing the benefits of vaccination for their lives, such as seeing a family member or sending their children to school, can be more motivating than the vague idea of ​​herd immunity.

“It would resonate with people more than this slightly elusive concept that experts are still trying to understand,” she added.

Although children spread the virus less effectively than adults, all experts agreed that vaccinating children would also be important in keeping the number of Covid cases low. In the long run, the public health system will also have to take into account infants and children and adults who remain in a higher risk group.

The troubled scenarios remain on the way to this long-term vision.

Over time, if not enough people are protected, highly contagious variants can develop that can break through vaccine protection, land people in the hospital and put them at risk of death.

“It’s a nightmare scenario,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University.

How common and how severe these outbreaks are can determine whether the United States can keep hospitalizations and deaths low, or whether the country will find itself in a “crazy quarrel” every few years, he said.

“I think we will look over our shoulders – or at least public health workers and infectious disease epidemiologists will look over their shoulders: ‘Okay, the options there – what are they doing?’ What are they capable of? ” he said. “Maybe the general public can go back to not worrying so much, but we’ll have to do it.”

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