Dr. Marty Makary: US could reach herd immunity if 20% of US population gets COVID vaccine


The United States could reach herd immunity when 20% of the population receives the coronavirus vaccine, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marty Makary told “The Story” Monday.

“There is a false construct out there, there’s a recommendation that we need to get every American immunized in order to get a handle on the pandemic,” Makary — a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore told guest host Brian Kilmeade.

“The reality is that about 25 to 50% of Americans have already had the infection and have some natural immunity,” he added. “Now, we don’t know if that’s a little better, a little worse, or the same as vaccinated immunity, but … we may only need to get an additional 20% of the population immunized by February or March to really hit those 70% herd immunity levels.”

The federal government is expecting to roll out nearly eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week between products from Pfizer and Moderna, according to Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.

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While most Americans view the vaccine as a step in the right direction, others are reluctant to get in line. The decision is a personal one, said Makary, who added that he “respects” those that choose “not to have the vaccine right now under the emergency authorization.”

“But,” he added, “it is incredibly safe. There were zero preventable serious adverse events, and if you run as many statistical tests that the FDA reviewed as you can on the number zero, it still comes out zero.”

That said, Makary continued, “it’s reasonable” to wait to get the vaccine, especially if you have already had the virus and developed antibodies. 

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“We don’t need to immunize the 25 to 50% of the population that already had the infection right now,” he explained.

Kilmeade hailed the vaccine as a major accomplishment for the Trump administration, telling Makary that he would “Get it in a second.”

Until the vaccine is widely distributed, Makary encouraged medical professionals to administer Regeneron and Remdsivir — both touted by President Trump as effective treatments in his own fight against the coronavirus.

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Doctors are reluctant to prescribe the treatments because “they don’t know necessarily what the mechanism is, how to set up their patients to get it,” Makary said. “We need more awareness around it.”

Makary urged those currently battling the coronavirus to “ask your doctor to ask a local hospital how you can get this infusion therapy” to curtail severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization. 



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