Almost a year after the first case of the coronavirus was reported in the state, Mainers might only have to wait three more months before things start returning to “normal.”
That’s based on vaccination rates compiled by Bloomberg News that show more than 441,000 doses statewide have been administered.
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said returning to normal would require between 70 percent and 85 percent of the population to be vaccinated, Bloomberg reported. That’s the point when the country would reach herd immunity, where enough people are protected from the virus to make spread unlikely.
In early February, Bloomberg reported it could take 11 months before the United States vaccinated 75 percent of the population, based on the then-current rate of 1,339,525 doses per day.
At that time, Bloomberg reported that the timeline could significantly sway either way due to factors such as the vaccination rate, large disruptions in vaccination and increased supply changing the country’s vaccination trajectory.
It already has.
Based on two-dose vaccines and our now-current rate of 2,168,688 doses per day, it could take the U.S. six months before it vaccinated 75 percent of the population, Bloomberg reported. However, that number does not distinguish between the first and second doses.
That shaves off five months until the U.S. vaccinates 75 percent of the population.
The U.S. right now is doing better than our neighbor to the north. At its current rate, it could take Canada 23 months to vaccinate 75 percent of its population.
That number has drastically reduced from what Bloomberg initially reported, saying it could take 10 years to vaccinate the same number of people back in February.
So how does Maine compare? In February, Bloomberg reported that at Maine’s then-current vaccination rate of 5,487 vaccines per day, it could take 11 months to vaccinate 75 percent of the state’s population — or just over 1 million people. That put the state at the same rate as the rest of the country.
But now, based on two-dose shots and not distinguishing between first and second doses, Maine’s current vaccination rate is 15,285 vaccines per day based on its population, according to Bloomberg.
That means, at the current rate, it could take three months to vaccinate 75 percent of Maine’s population — half the rate as the rest of the country.
However, those numbers are still based on two-dose vaccines and does not distinguish between the first and second doses. With the federal approval of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it is expected that health officials could get the vaccine to a wider group of people, and theoretically, change the vaccine trajectory significantly once again.
Maine has been using an age-based vaccination plan with ages of 60 and 69 becoming eligible for vaccinations this month and 50 and up in April. All Mainers under age 50 will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning May 1, Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday. The state is also working to vaccinate the more than 52,000 eligible Maine teachers and child care providers in alignment with a federal directive.
Maine has also continued to add new COVID-19 vaccination sites since extending eligibility to older Mainers, now boasting more than 150 locations statewide.
An additional 9,878 Mainers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. As of Thursday, 293,566 Mainers have received a first dose of the vaccine, while 170,311 have received two doses.
Another 187 coronavirus cases were reported across the state on Thursday, Maine health officials said.
The new case rate statewide was 1.40 cases per 10,000 residents, and the total case rate statewide was 346.99.
Maine’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 175.4, up from 166.7 a day ago, up from 159.7 a week ago and down from 234.3 a month ago. That average peaked on Jan. 14 at 625.3.