Herd immunity possible before July 4; 70% of Wisconsin residents ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine

As the number of Wisconsin residents 65 and older with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine passed 70%, state officials said Thursday there would be enough vaccine to immunize 80% of everyone 16 and over by the end of June.

That would mean Wisconsin would hit a key target to achieve herd immunity before the 4th of July.

“Wouldn’t that be a wonderful 4th of July celebration, to hit 80% community immunity in the state of Wisconsin?” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80% to reach “herd immunity.” Other health experts have said “herd immunity” won’t be reached until 90% of the population is vaccinated.

More than 70% of Wisconsin residents age 65 and older have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.

A total of 716,525 residents or 70.4% of the 65 and older population have received at least one vaccination dose, according to state numbers. 

A little over 44%, or 448,805 residents 65 and older, have received both doses. 

The effect of the vaccination effort is obvious. Since the week of Feb. 7, residents 65 and older have been last in COVID-19 cases compared to other age groups. So far this week, 62 residents 65 and older have been diagnosed with COVID-19 while all other age groups have been higher.

At the peak of the pandemic in Wisconsin, the week of Nov. 20, 692 of the state’s oldest residents were diagnosed with the virus.

“Let’s keep up that patience and that persistence, and get ready, the more people vaccinated in our state, the safer we will be,” Willems Van Dijk said.

More:Wisconsin reclassifies 1,000 past COVID-19 deaths; now reports 45% of all deaths were in long-term care facilities

Related:New Milwaukee COVID-19 health order goes into effect Friday, further lifting restrictions

Track COVID and the vaccine in Wisconsin:Track the latest data on cases, deaths and our pace on vaccines

More:What we know about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, who’s eligible and when

Latest COVID-19 numbers

  • New cases reported: 490
  • New deaths reported: 2
  • Number hospitalized: 222 (intensive care: 62); down 166 patients from one month ago
  • Seven-day average of daily cases: 409 (down 324 cases from one month ago)
  • Seven-day average of daily deaths: 5 (down 8 from one month ago)
  • Seven-day average positivity rate — as a share of all tests given: 2.2%
  • Total cases since the start of pandemic: 571,220 (6,390 active cases)
  • Total deaths: 6,556

Latest vaccine numbers

  • Total doses administered: 2,148,882
  • Wisconsin residents with at least one dose: 1,340,704 (23% of the population)
  • Residents with both doses: 761,027 (13.4% of the population)
  • Residents 65 and older with at least one dose: 716,525 (70.4% of 65+ population)

More: Where can you get the vaccine in Wisconsin? Here are the different places where vaccinations may be available

Contact Drake Bentley at (414) 722-3811 or DBentley1@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @drake_bentley.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.