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How to achieve herd immunity? Main obstacles to COVID-19 immunity. 5
Professor Saad Omer, you co-authored a review called “Herd immunity and implications for SARS-CoV-2 control”. It was published in a prestigious Journal of American Medical Association not so long ago. Is herd immunity against COVID-19 Coronavirus achievable, in your view? What percentage of the population has to be vaccinated to get to herd immunity? There are different numbers being thrown around. Will people who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine become a permanent reserve for the Coronavirus?
Yeah. So that’s an unfortunate situation that we have. These folks who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine may hamper our ability to get to herd immunity. But we are in that kind of a situation where we are getting to [herd immunity against COVID-19 too slowly]. Our initial estimate was that 60% – 70% coverage would be required to achieve a sustainable level of control, meaning herd immunity, an interruption of endemic transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus. But I take a more nuanced view that even before that, you’re likely to see a slowing of COVID-19 outbreaks. I mean, even after that number, you’re likely to see COVID-19 clusters because it’s not uniformly that people are at that level of COVID-19 vaccination and protection. In terms of technically speaking, a COVID-19 vaccine that is 95% effective should give you some tools to achieve herd immunity. There’s one caveat. But right now, we don’t have direct data on reducing transmission from this COVID-19 vaccine after these vaccines. But a COVID-19 vaccine that is 95% effective is likely to result in some reduction of COVID-19 transmission. We don’t know how much COVID-19 transmission is reduced, so that’s our best guess. But I think herd immunity is achievable. But even before that, we’ll see indirect effects of these COVID-19 vaccines.
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