Wisconsin may not reach herd immunity from COVID-19 until fall if vaccination rates continue to trend downward, a key state health department leader says.
Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said earlier this spring that 70% of Wisconsin’s population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and the state could reach that benchmark by July.
But vaccination rates have slowed dramatically since then. The health department was seeing daily increases of 1% to 2% in the number of shots administered during the early days of the vaccine rollout in January, February and March, Van Dijk told The Associated Press in an interview this week.
Now the department is seeing a 1% increase every week, she said. At this rate it likely will be fall before the state reaches the 70% mark, she said. As of Thursday, 40% of the state’s eligible population had been fully vaccinated.
“If we keep at that pace, one percentage point a week, you know, in another, maybe not by July, maybe it’s more like September or October we’re going to hit that 70, 80%,” she said. “It’s just going to take longer.”