Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The number of people vaccinated in Washington County continues to rise, but there still is a ways to go before reaching herd immunity, according to Public Health Director Danielle Pettit-Majewski.
On Tuesday, Pettit-Majewski reported to the Board of Supervisors that 14,004 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Washington County residents, with 5,959 having received their full series of the vaccine.
That translates to 27 percent of the entire county’s population being fully vaccinated. Only people age 16 and over can receive a vaccine at this time.
Pettit-Majewski said that, according the U.S. Census numbers, 23 percent (about 4,800 people) of the county’s residents are under 18. There is no data available for the number of people age 16 and under in the county.
“Ultimately, herd immunity will require between 75-85 percent of the total population being vaccinated, which means we’ll need almost 100 percent vaccine uptake of those over 18 to reach that, which we don’t anticipate,” Pettit-Majewski said.
She said that Pfizer, whose vaccine is currently authorized for use in people age 16 and older, has conducted clinical trials on 12-15-year-olds and is hoping to expand its emergency use authorization to cover children in that age group.
“Hopefully, with the Pfizer vaccine trials on 12-15-year-olds, we hope to have an opportunity to vaccinate children in middle school and high school before school starts in the fall,” Pettit-Majewski said.
She reported that the state’s first case of the Brazilian variant, P. 1, was reported in Johnson County.
She said that the Brazilian variant is believed to be more contagious than other strains of the virus.
Pettit-Majewski added that people who have had other strains of the virus have less protection against the Brazilian strain.
Health officials are still waiting on data about how effective current vaccines are against the Brazilian strain.