DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), which improves healthcare for vulnerable populations using advanced data science and clinical experts, estimates Dallas County will reach a critical tipping point of COVID-19 “herd immunity” in late-June due to total case recoveries and vaccinations.

The nonprofit healthcare analytics organization forecasts that Dallas County is on track to have 80% of county residents at levels of COVID-19 “herd immunity” by early summer. This forecast is based on models estimating people who either have recovered from COVID-19 or who have received vaccinations.

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“Our forecast is determined by the data, models and trends we have been monitoring and analyzing since the beginning of the pandemic and informed by the latest national and international research. We are optimistic that by early summer, much of Dallas County will reach herd immunity,” said Steve Miff, PhD, President and CEO of PCCI. “We will get to herd immunity either through continued infection, which is a slow route that will continue to harm the community and economy, or vaccinations. This underscores the importance of Dallas County residents registering for and receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations as quickly as possible and continuing to stay vigilant and safe from being infected. We’re also racing to stay ahead of the development and spread of existing or future new COVID-19 strains. We are in this together and will only get there though our collective and combined efforts.”

(credit: Getty Images)

PCCI’s analysis, as of Feb. 22, indicates that the county has already reached 44% of the 2.6 million adult residents of Dallas County as either recovered from COVID-19 or in the process of receiving their full COVID-19 vaccine. That includes 922,460 COVID-19 confirmed and presumed infected and recovered, and 270,642 residents who have received their first (154,766) and second (115,875) vaccine shot.

“Reaching the tipping point for herd immunity is achievable with continued community effort,” said Thomas Roderick, PhD, Senior Director of Data and Applied Sciences at PCCI. “But parts of the county may not share the early benefits in our estimated forecast if they don’t keep pace with vaccines. Vaccines are also the best line of defense against COVID-19 variants, so it is critical that vaccines are made available to as many people as possible and county residents make it a priority to get vaccinated.”

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PCCI’s forecast for herd immunity is based on widely accepted statistical analysis of spread and management of diseases within communities. Further, PCCI’s 80% range for reaching herd immunity is in line with national estimates, such as that of Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently gave a range of 70 to 90% and the World Health Organization that gave a 60 to 70% range of infections and vaccines to reach herd immunity*.

PCCI’s forecast and estimates have been developed in coordination with and reviewed by community health leaders in Dallas County including experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas County Health and Human Services and Parkland Health & Hospital System.

“Our predictions for Dallas County to reach its herd immunity tipping point include algorithms to predict total infections and forecasts of vaccination rates. We encourage the community to participate in virological studies such as the one conducted by our colleagues at UT Southwestern (https://utswmed.org/covidstudy/) so we can better understand the community infections and impact. We also need to register and vaccinate the most vulnerable as well as the rest of the population as soon as they are eligible,” said George ‘Holt’ Oliver, MD, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Informatics at PCCI.

PCCI will update its forecast monthly to understand how well the county is progressing toward its 80% vaccinated and infected and recovered rate. The updates will incorporate the latest data, intelligence and information from new studies, research and developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and impact of emerging strains.

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CBSDFW.com Staff