Everything About Herd Immunity
As the COVID cases are increasing, you must be hearing about HERD immunity from the government officials. If you don’t know what exactly is HERD immunity, let’s discuss it in detail.
Herd immunity is when a large percentage of the population is immune to a specific disease or virus. If enough people are resistant to the virus, the chances of the virus spread are less.
Herd immunity protects at-risk populations, including babies, people with weak immunity, and those who can’t get resistance on their own.
How Do You Achieve Herd Immunity?
The best way to achieve HERD immunity is to develop resistance naturally. Your body is exposed to the virus, which as a result, makes antibodies to fight the infection. Your body keeps antibodies once you recover and use those antibodies to fight another infection. This is what helped control the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil and polio in the United States.
Similarly, COVID vaccines can build resistance. They make your body think that it has got infected with a virus; however, you don’t fall sick. Instead, it improves your immunity, makes protective antibodies, and protects your body against the virus.
When does a community reach HERD immunity?
It depends on the reproduction number or R0. It’s the average number of people that an infected person can infect the people who aren’t already immune. The higher the R0, the more people need to be resistant to reach herd immunity.
According to the researchers, “The RO for COVID-19 is between 2 and 3.” It means one infected person can infect two or three persons. As per this scenario, 50-67% of the population needs to be resistant to kick in the HERD immunity and reduce the infection rate.
Challenges in developing COVID-19 HERD Immunity
The main obstacle in developing HERD immunity is that the coronavirus is new.
Globally, data from seroprevalence studies suggest that less than 10% of those studied have been infected, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus.
It hasn’t infected every single human being, and those people are still at risk of being infected. It means there is no existing immunity in the body to fight COVID-19.
Another challenge that we’re facing with HERD immunity is that researchers are unsure how strong the protection is and how long it will protect the individual from COVID-19. Research done on Monkeys showed that the vaccination made antibodies to the virus that protected them from a second infection a month later. If the coronavirus is like the flu, we can expect a few months of protection.
The good news is we have vaccinations now, but it’ll take months for the entire population to get vaccinated. Also, researchers estimate that 75-80% of the population would need to be vaccinated before we can have herd immunity and to bring the spread under control, which can take time. So to control the situation, we recommend everyone to stay home as much as possible, wear a mask in public, maintain social distance, and get vaccinated.
Want to know more about the COVID-19 vaccinations or HERD immunity, stay tuned to the WiseRx Discount Card blog!