Steve Miff, president and CEO of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, discussed his organization’s data analysis during a press conference Feb. 23 with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
“We’re close to 45% toward that goal of 80% [immunity to COVID-19],” Miff said, noting about 35% of the county’s population has recovered from the virus and another 10% have been vaccinated. “We still have a ways to go, and we're not going to get there by getting infected; we're going to get there by being vaccinated.”
Miff explained PCCI, which is a nonprofit health care analytics research and development organization, has been working with Dallas County Health and Human Services and its director, Dr. Philip Huang, to track COVID-19 for the past year. Miff explained the organization’s forecast for reaching herd immunity is based on collected data and statistical models using local, national and international research. PCCI's website states its estimates were reviewed by experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas County Health and Human Services, and Parkland Health & Hospital System.
Jenkins cautioned against over-optimism about PCCI’s analysis.
“These are sophisticated guesses,” the county judge said. “These are scientists and data analysts looking at the numbers and doing their very best to give us information. It doesn’t mean that we can let our guard down, and it doesn’t mean necessarily that it’s going to be right, but it is encouraging news.”
In order for Dallas County to get to the 80% level of immunity by the middle of June, Miff said the county will need to administer 65,000 vaccinations per week.
“[With] the current rates of roughly 43,000 vaccinations per week, which we've been able to do the last couple weeks, we're not going to get [to herd immunity] until August,” Miff said. “We have to receive the vaccines. We have to administer the vaccines. Individually, we have to register for the vaccines. And we continually need to educate our family members, our neighbors [and] the community about the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccine so more and more of our neighbors participate.”
PCCI will continue to track the vaccinations and update its analysis on a monthly basis, Miff said.
“This presupposes that people continue to wear masks, social distance and do the things that they're doing now,” Jenkins said. “And that there's not a huge lapse in that.”
Jenkins said Dallas County was allotted 45,000 vaccines this week by the state, but the county is working to get an additional allotment from the federal government that would bring its total to 66,000 vaccines next week.