Could Colorado get herd immunity by summer?

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been underway in Colorado for three months, and many people are itching for things to get back to normal.

While there are many variables that go into this, Data Desk ran the numbers a few different ways looking at overall and recent trends, and the good news is that it appears the state will reach the necessary amount of people before 2021 is over.

Before we get into this, a few important notes. Currently, it’s unclear exactly how much of the population will need to be vaccinated before we reach herd immunity, which is the level of people who need to be immune from a disease to prevent it from spreading. Estimates have this between 70% and 90%, so we looked at both of those numbers.

CDPHE records have not been updated since Feb. 10, but the CDC has records current as of Feb. 16. As of that day, 11.7% of Coloradans have received at least one dose of a vaccine with about 6% having received both doses.

Vaccine administration – that is, the actual injection into a human arm – is wildly sporadic. Some days the state administers hundreds, other days tens of thousands.

On average, however, the state is administering vaccines to 0.26% of the population every day since the program started last December.

If that pace continues, Colorado will not have vaccinated 70% of its population until Sept. 20. It won’t reach 90% until Jan. 6 of next year.

If, however, we eliminate the first few weeks of the vaccine rollout and just look at the data starting Jan. 1, 2021 that rate has been higher at 0.3%.

This forecast would make for a better Halloween and holiday season than 2020’s. With a 0.3% daily increase, Colorado will have vaccinated 70% by Aug. 15, and 90% by Oct. 20.

To take things one step further and just look at the average for the first few weeks of February, we’re seeing an average daily increase, 0.4% of the population vaccinated. At this rate Colorado will have vaccinated 70% of the population by July 1 and 90% by Sept. 14.

Things could move even more quickly if they keep pace.

Every month, the average daily increase in administered vaccines increases by 0.1%. If applied to each new month, Data Desk forecasts 70% vaccinated by May 22 and 90% by June 18.

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