San Francisco infectious disease experts said some areas of the Bay Area have achieved herd immunity from the COVID-19 virus despite the lack of fully vaccinated residents in the country.

University of California, San Francisco infectious disease specialist Dr Chin-Hong said the San Quentin State Prison is among the few areas that have herd immunity.

Herd Immunity

The prison has more than 2,100 inmates that have been infected with the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of Spring 2020. Officials reported 28 of the victims lost their lives. They also reported that 1,927 of the prisoners are fully vaccinated.

Chin-Hong said the local nursing home population may have already achieved herd immunity as well. “Another place where I can say we have almost herd immunity is the nursing home population because across the country, the vaccination rate is pretty high, above 70%. In the Bay Area, it’s above 80%,” he said.

Data show that San Francisco is leading the Bay Area in herd immunity potential because it has the highest percentage of vaccinated residents in the state and recorded the lowest hospitalization rates.

Health officials said that as of May 14, 75% of San Francisco residents above the age of 16 are at least partially vaccinated. “Until we get global herd immunity, regional herd immunity may be just transient and fleeting depending on circumstances,” Chin-Hong said.

Many medical professionals believe global herd immunity is still years in the future because of the new COVID-19 variants, vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine equity. “I haven’t been vaccinated because there hasn’t been enough tests and I kind of feel like I don’t want to be one of the guinea pigs,” 60-year-old Emeryville resident, William Luckett, said while refusing to be vaccinated.

Many of the residents who do not wish to get vaccinated said they were hesitant because of dubious scientific research. “I don’t have trust in the systems like that. Because everybody you put your trust in let you down,” 58-year-old Oakland resident, Vernon Lewis, said, CBS Local reported.