What is Herd Immunity and How Does It Protect us From Coronavirus?
At this time when the world is living under the threat of coronavirus pandemic, you’ve heard the term called ‘Herd Immunity’ linked to the coronavirus disease outbreak.
Many global leaders and health experts — such as Boris Johnson, The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci, American physician and immunologist served as a director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — have suggested that it can be a breakthrough in the battle against coronavirus outbreak and could stop or minimize the spread of the virus, which causes coronavirus. Otherworldly, herd immunity is community immunity and herd of group protection.
It’s simple to understand ‘What is Herd Immunity and How Does It Work.’ Basically, Herd Immunity is a term when nearly 60% to 75% of the population gets affected by a disease and self-develop immune to an infectious disease so it halts the spread of the virus. There are two ways it can proceed:
- One third of a country’s population transmit the disease and built up an immune response called ‘Natural Immunity’. It takes just a month to develop a natural immune system.
- As much as possible people are vaccinated against the virus to boost immunity.
Herd immunity works similarly against the spread of disease. There are several ways it works and helps minimize the transmission or terminates a virus.
Also, there are several reasons stating the fact that ‘Herd Immunity’ won’t work to stop or slow down the transmission of SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19 — global pandemic caused by an infection of the new coronavirus originated in Wuhan city China. Read more about coronavirus and symptoms of COVID-19 here.
How Herd Immunity Works?
There is a simple theory behind how ‘herd immunity’ works and suggested to be used against the new coronavirus outbreak. See, when a large community or nearly 60% to 75% of the population develops ‘natural immunity’ to a disease, the spread of the virus either slows down or stops.
See, almost all the bacterial infections and viral spread from person to person. When most people get infected, the transmission of the disease or virus stops automatically.
Herd Immunity is one of the most effective ways to protect people who are not vaccinated or who are more likely to be affected due to poor immunity system and may easily affected, such as:
- Senior Citizens
- Young Children
- Pregnant Women
- People With Weak Immunity System
- People With Other Health Issues
Does It Work?
According to a report, 19 out of every 20 people must have the measles vaccination to halt the spread of disease or virus. Well, the only goal of herd immunity is to prevent other people from infection or spreading a disease like COVId-19. At this time amid the pandemic, every country is finding a way to beat the virus. Earlier, there is Convalescent Plasma Therapy, which is used to cure patients infected with the virus.
So, the questions right now is, ‘Does Herd Immunity Work’ or how would it prevent coronavirus? Well, it works in some illnesses as people in Norway developed a partial herd immunity to the H1N1 virus (Swine flu) through vaccination and natural immunity.
Herd Immunity can help slow down or stop the transmission of a disease, including swine flu, and other countrywide pandemics. But, the concern is that it can change anytime. Also, there is no guarantee of protection against all types of diseases and viruses.
So, we cannot stop every illness that has a vaccine by herd immunity. Is it clear? Now, for an example, you can contract tetanus from an infection in your environment. It doesn’t transmit human to human, so herd immunity won’t work for this infection. Vaccination is the only way to protect from such infections.
And if you and your family have an up-to-date vaccination, then you can develop herd immunity to certain diseases. Also the herd immunity may not protect every person in the community, but it can help slow down the spread of disease.
Herd Immunity and Coronavirus Outbreak
The term of herd immunity is pretty common amid coronavirus, but social distancing and frequent sanitization are nowadays the only way to prevent this virus. While many people are debating over this issue ‘Whether or not the herd immunity will help prevent the virus’ there are several reasons that we’ve found for why herd immunity won’t help minimizing the spread of SARS-COV-2 or new coronavirus.
- There is no dedicated vaccine for coronavirus developed yet. Vaccination is the only safest way to practice herd immunity in a big population.
- Scientists are still researching antivirals and other medicines to treat COVID-19.
- There is nothing sure whether you can contract SARS-CoV-2 and develop COVID-19 twice.
- Coronavirus infected people are experiencing several serious health issues and can lead to death.
- Older adults, infants and other vulnerable members of society with chronic health issues could get seriously ill after infection.
- Also, healthy and younger people get seriously ill with COVID-19.
- Herd Immunity required a big part of the population to get infected and today’s hospitals and healthcare systems may fail to handle overburden if 65% of the country’s population gets infected.
These are some reasons why practicing herd immunity in this critical time won’t work and may worsen the condition. Scientists are currently working on antivirals and vaccines for coronavirus. If we succeed in developing a vaccine, then we will be able to develop herd immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the future. While we don’t have a vaccine for the new coronavirus, it is better not to practice herd immunity.