SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday that South Dakota was “very, very, close” to herd immunity with the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say that the percentage vaccinated need to be higher than they are now.
Noem was asked about herd immunity during a tourism news conference in Sioux Falls as part of National Tourism Week.
The state continues to do well with vaccinations, Noem said. Also, a percentage of the population has had COVID-19 and recovered, she said.
The state department of health website said as of Monday, 55.1% of the state’s 16 and older population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 47% were fully vaccinated.
The state DOH said about 122,00 people have had COVID-19 as of May 3.
According to Harvard Health Publishing from the Harvard Medical School, experts initially said herd immunity could be achieved if at least 60 to 70% of the population was fully vaccinated. But, recently the percentage was increased to 90%, according to Harvard.
Noem said that variations of the coronavirus are still a concern but most people are comfortable returning to normal daily life.
The New York Times has been tracking COVID-19 data since the start of the pandemic. On May 3, it released a report on vaccination levels in U.S. States. About 70% to 80% of the state’s population had indicated it would get fully vaccinated. But, a portion of central South Dakota had a far lower percentage.
The New York Times and other publications today quoted experts saying herd immunity in the U.S. was unlikely.
Most of Minnesota was listed in the 80% to 91% range as willing to get fully vaccinated. As of May 3, 59% or about 2.5 million of all Minnesotans 16 and older had received at least one dose, according to the Minnesota Department of Health website. About 1.9 million Minnesotans have been fully vaccinated.