SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- COVID-19 vaccines are still being distributed every day, but local health experts say the momentum is slowing down.
“I have two children at home, so for me - they’re 11, they'll be 12 coming up - but for me, it was a no-brainer because I don’t want to bring anything home to them and I just don’t want my kids to be sick,” said Oliver Layne of Springfield.
More than 4.2 million people have had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. That’s about 62 percent of the state’s population. While that may sound like good news, Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, president of Allergy and Immunology Associates of New England, told Western Mass News that about 80 percent of the population should be fully vaccinated in order for the state to reach herd immunity.
“If people don't get vaccinated, there’ll be a lot more suffering, there’ll be more death. That’s not necessary, but eventually the virus, we will reach herd immunity because people will continue to get sick,” Bayuk noted.
He said the vaccine momentum has slowed down, but herd immunity is still reachable
“It’s becoming a very difficult process to find someone who wants the vaccine,” Bayuk noted.
Some volunteers in the state are still going door-to-door trying to get shots in more arms. The Springfield Health Department told Western Mass News that its focusing on the neighborhoods with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates, but vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge.
“We're on a good trajectory. The problem is we went from this now, we’re kinda like this, and you really wanna see it sort of pick back up again,” Bayuk added.
Some residents in western Massachusetts agree and said they're ready for a return to pre-pandemic life.
“That’s why we need to get the vaccine in everyone’s arms right now and get people moving, so we can get back to some type of normalcy,” Layne said.
Brandon Colpack of Easthampton said, “I personally have been vaccinated, but I feel like it’s everyone’s choice to do what they want to, but I don’t see any reason why not to in the long run.”