A new study partnered by the Oxford Vaccine Group with AstraZeneca has shown that herd immunity is no longer possible for the world. Find out why now.
Why Is Herd Immunity Important?
Herd immunity is important because it can prevent the unvaccinated population (Newborn babies and children) from getting infected. A population reaches herd immunity when 50% to 90% of its inhabitants get vaccinated or have survived the infection.
Collective immunity can also decrease the severity of the infection if it were to spread beyond controllable limits.
How to Develop Herd Immunity?
There are several ways to develop herd immunity:
1.Infection– Survivors often develop immunity against the disease. The possibility of reinfection is low in these individuals. Thus, if the majority of the population in a particular area has survived high infection rates, the chances of developing herd immunity are high. Thus, making the remaining population immune to the disease.
2.Vaccination– Herd immunity increases automatically with the increase in the number of vaccinated individuals in a community. Thus, most governments have taken up pocket vaccination to vaccinate large chunks of the population in densely populated areas to prevent the disease.
3.COVID Appropriate Behaviour – If the majority of the community were to take up frequent sanitization and wearing masks in public. The coronavirus spread will reduce considerably. (More than 80% of the United Kingdom wears masks in public while only 50% of America wears them.)
Herd Immunity Is No Longer Possible
A new study published by the Oxford Vaccine Group in partnership with AstraZeneca (Covishield vaccine manufacturer) has shown that herd immunity is no longer possible.
The coronavirus has been fast evolving since the day of its origin. From Alpha to Delta along with subdivisions, the number of coronavirus variants has been on the rise. WHO had previously marked the world will reach herd immunity after 60% to 70% of the population is either vaccinated or infected. The White House increased this to 75% to 80% after the spread of the UK variant.
The herd immunity percentage has expanded from 50% to 90% in recent times following the increased infection rates of vaccinated and previously infected individuals. The evolution of new variants has added to this.
Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the White House, explained that herd immunity is not possible given the rates of infected vaccinated individuals.
COVID-19 Vaccine & Herd Immunity
Vaccination doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be infected or have no side effects at all. Vaccinations reduce death rates or reduce further complications of existing ailments such as stroke, diabetes, etc.
Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Group, added that governments should stop concentrating on preventing the virus from evolving further as it is an uncontrollable event. His team has found the following about infected vaccinated individuals:
- They recovered fast.
- Mortality rates were low.
- They shed fewer viruses than an average unvaccinated infected person.
He argued that controlling the transmission will be impossible if someone were to encounter infection in the future after the majority of the population is vaccinated.
With the UK showing an increase in its Delta virus cases, the London Imperial University professor, Danny Altmann, has warned the UK to be cautious while relaxing controls and to stay determined in vaccinating its population. He also said that oversimplifying herd immunity as the only means to end the disease is not recommended.