What’s the hold up for herd immunity in Tennessee?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s reasonable to imagine, in the not too distant future, family and friends gathering freely.

Vanderbilt infectious disease doctor William Schaffner said mask free fun in the sun hinges on how quickly people show up to receive immunity.

“We anticipate that will come sometime this summer if people come forward to be vaccinated,” Schaffner said. “The faster people come forward and get vaccinated, the quicker we get to where we want to go.”

As we move forward, chasing herd immunity, some trends indicate summer may turn into a lofty goal.

“We know already in our rural areas, the acceptance of the vaccine lags behind what’s happening in our cities in our own state. That’s pretty much the same around the United States,” Schaffner explained.

A delay in vaccines administered would create disproportionate numbers of those protected against COVID-19, ultimately pushing back the timeline for herd immunity.

“Parts of the state may become very well vaccinated, other parts may be not so,” he added.

Dr. Schaffner encouraged those who are hesitant to reach out to medical professionals to learn more about the potentially life-saving treatment. And, he said, to think about where our country could be in a short amount of time.

From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.

“If we have 80% vaccinated, I think we’ll be going to football games. We’ll have a lot of thanks to give at Thanksgiving. And yes, I think our music venues and tourism will open up again,” he emphasized.

While life wont be perfect, we’ll still need to take precautions, Dr. Schaffner said it will resemble the pre-pandemic normal we’ve all missed.

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