GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — New numbers show Westmoreland County is making great strides in getting people vaccinated.
Dr. Carol Fox, the chief medical officer of Excela Health, says while it is great more people are getting fully vaccinated, the ones with partial vaccinations and those in rural areas may hold the key to getting the county to herd immunity.READ MORE: Gov. Wolf To Impose Higher Wage, Sick Pay Requirements On Companies Getting State Incentives
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 100,080 Westmoreland County residents have received both vaccinations or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Another 49,000 are partially vaccinated.
That is out of a population of a little under 350,000.
“I don’t believe we’re yet at that point where we’re comfortable that there’s enough immunity in the community,” Dr. Fox said.READ MORE: Jury Deadlocked In Trial Of Former Restaurant Owner Accused Of Sexual Assault
Dr. Fox says a number of things need to happen. First, people who’ve got the first shot must follow up for the second injection.
“Over time, that protection wains. It’s often that second shot that super activates the system,” Dr. Fox said.
Another thing needed to get Westmoreland County up to herd immunity is changing attitudes of distrust. The longstanding distrust of the medical community in minority communities is one thing, but some residents in rural areas are also often leery of doctors and science.
Political, cultural and religious attitudes all play a role.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Cold Front Begins Pushing Rain, Storms Into Area, Gusty Winds Possible
How is the problem solved? Local, state and federal health experts continue to emphasize that getting a shot not only helps you but also your community.