with Alexandra Ellerbeck
The United States — poised to embark upon its largest-ever vaccination effort — has a mediocre track record on previous vaccine campaigns.
Roughly 4 in 10 Americans were inoculated against the seasonal flu last year. The vaccination rate for the H1N1 outbreak a decade ago was half that.
Those rates, presented in a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation supporting research on health care issues, are well below the 60 percent to 70 percent threshold needed for “herd immunity” — the point at which enough of the population is immune from a virus to stop it from spreading widely.
Experts say achieving herd immunity with the coronavirus is crucial for life in the United States to return to normal next year.
States will face big hurdles to vaccinating large swaths of residents against the coronavirus, if history is any guide.