How Oakland County hit 70% vaccination rate

Matthew Donnellon
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Recently, Oakland county announced that they were the second county in Michigan to hit a 70% vaccination rate.

This beats the statewide vaccination rate of 63%.

County Executive Dave Coulter explained, “"We just really leaned in on this as the county, we’ve been working extremely hard towards this day," Coulter said. "We had hoped like President Biden said to reach this milestone by July 4th, we didn't make that. But we're here today and it has really truly been a team effort."

So why is the 70% percent number so important?

It comes down to herd immunity.

The Mayo Clinic states, “Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.”

The percentage of people needed to reach herd immunity is directly proportional to how contagious the disease is. For a disease has transmissible as Covid-19, 70% of the population would have to get it in order to stop it from spreading.

Think of it as a forest, if you had a forest and knew a wildfire was starting, if you removed 70% of the trees then there wouldn’t be enough trees for it to spread.

It’s the same with people.

And vaccines play a role in this. The will artificially create the herd immunity by mimicking people getting infected. Once 70% of the people have been inoculated, then theoretically the disease can no longer spread.

Hence, the push to vaccinate everyone.

Right now, the new Delta variant is sweeping through the unvaccinated population, which is why there is such a strong push to get vaccinated. Vaccinations so far have proved to be safe, while natural immunity means contracting a disease that’s killed 600,000 people, and risking complications.

Coulter spoke about people not wanting to get the shot, “"There’s a hesitant population - they’re leery but they're open and they just need it to be more accessible, maybe a little more convenient or they need to hear a little bit more about it," he said. So we’ve trying to target that population and our younger people. Those populations - the younger people and the hesitant people - we're really targeting our messaging towards."

Coulter also highlighted the danger of the Delta variant, “The delta variant is certainly what they're focusing in on now. It's certainly in our county, Oakland County, and across the state. So the Delta variant is very much top of mind.”

Coulter also touched on sad fact that while people in other countries desperately want the vaccine, there are people here refusing it, “It breaks my heart to think that we’re gonna have vaccines that expire here in Michigan when around the world, there are countries that don’t have their first doses of vaccines yet," Coulter said. "There are literally millions of people around the world that are eager to get a vaccine and the fact that we've gotten so hesitant about it and that they're going to expire is really just a tragedy."

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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