We've heard the term tossed around for the last year or so, but it turns out now there may be a real chance, at least for the state of Maine, to achieve 'herd immunity' against the COVID-19 virus.

What is herd immunity? According to Wikipedia, Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

According to News Center Maine, herd immunity could be reached once at least seventy to eighty percent of Maine's population is vaccinated. That boils down to a minimum of about 910,000 Mainers if you consider it at 70% of approximately 1.3 million. Maine health officials this is easily attainable by early summer based on the number of vaccinations Maine is administering per day. And, at least at this point, each week Maine is giving more shots per day than the week prior.

Officials say that we could have eventually reached a point of herd immunity without a vaccine, however the timeline would be much longer, and the cost would be millions more deaths. To give an idea of just how quickly vaccine rates are ramping up, Maine was administering about 8,440 per day seven days ago but has now climbed to 12,612 doses per day as of this week.

Officials say while 'herd immunity' in Maine is a great goal, 'true herd immunity' can only be present when 70% of the entire country becomes vaccinated. Hopefully though, as the months go on, we see the new infection numbers drop and mandates and regulations begin to roll back so we can get back to our unmasked and close-together lives!

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

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