Los Angeles County could reach herd immunity by end of July, health officials say

By Lauren Frias

Public health officials predicted Monday that Los Angeles county could reach COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-to-late July.

Barbara Ferrer, the public health director of Los Angeles County, made the prediction during a press briefing on Monday, saying the county could hit herd immunity when roughly 80% of LA County residents ages 16 and older will have at least one shot.

At least 400,000 doses are being administered each week in LA County. At least 2 million more first doses must be administered before 80% of adults and adolescents in LA County will have at least one shot.

"At the rate we're going, we expect that we can reach this level somewhere in mid to late July, and that assumes that we continue to have at least 400,000 people vaccinated each week that will include both first doses that people need, as well as their second doses," Ferrer said during the briefing.

In a press release on Monday, county health officials also noted they do not have the exact vaccinated percentage of the county's population needed to achieve community immunity, but estimate it would be around 80%.

Late last year, top US infections disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci previously estimated that the US would need to inoculate between 75% to 85% of Americans to reach herd immunity, but in a White House briefing in late April, he shifted attention away from the figures of herd immunity to just getting people vaccinated.

"Rather than concentrating on an elusive number, let's get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can," Fauci said.

The announcement that LA County could reach herd immunity by the end of July comes after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents ages 12-15. An advisory committee will review clinical trial data of the vaccine in teenagers before affirming the FDA recommendation, which could come as early as later this week.