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COVID-19 Herd Immunity Unlikely In 2021 Despite Vaccines: World Health Organisation

Scientists typically estimate that a vaccination rate of about 70 per cent is needed for herd immunity, where entire populations are protected against a disease

COVID-19 Herd Immunity Unlikely In 2021 Despite Vaccines: World Health Organisation
Highlights
  • WHO’s Dr Soumya Swaminathan recommends maintaining strict social distancing
  • Follow other outbreak control measures for foreseeable future: WHO
  • Recent spikes in transmission were due to increased mixing of people: WHO

Geneva: The World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned that even as numerous countries start rolling out vaccination programs to stop COVID-19, herd immunity is highly unlikely this year. At a media briefing on Monday (January 11), Dr Soumya Swaminathan said it was critical countries and their populations maintain strict social distancing and other outbreak control measures for the foreseeable future. In recent weeks, Britain, the US, France, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and others have begun vaccinating millions of their citizens against the coronavirus.

Also Read: Amid Short Supplies, Vaccine Doses Can Be Six Weeks Apart, Says WHO

Even as vaccines start protecting the most vulnerable, we’re not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021, Dr Swaminathan said.

“Even if it happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world.”

Scientists typically estimate that a vaccination rate of about 70 per cent is needed for herd immunity, where entire populations are protected against a disease. But some fear that the extremely infectious nature of COVID-19 could require a significantly higher threshold. Dr Bruce Aylward, an adviser to WHO’s director-general, said the UN health agency was hoping coronavirus vaccinations might begin later this month or in February in some of the world’s poorer countries, calling on the global community to do more to ensure all countries have access to vaccines. “We cannot do that on our own,” Dr Aylward said, saying WHO needed the cooperation of vaccine manufacturers in particular to start immunising vulnerable populations. Dr Aylward said WHO was aiming to have “a rollout plan” detailing which developing countries might start receiving vaccines next month. Still, the majority of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine supply has already been bought by rich countries.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?

The UN-backed initiative known as COVAX, which is aiming to deliver shots to developing countries is short of vaccines, money and logistical help as donor countries scramble to protect their own citizens, particularly in the wake of newly detected COVID-19 variants in Britain and South Africa, which many officials are blaming for increased spread. WHO, however, said that most of the recent spikes in transmission were due to “the increased mixing of people” rather than the new variants. WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said that the spike in cases in numerous countries was detected before the new variants were identified. Dr Van Kerkhove noted that during the summer, COVID-19 cases were down to single digits in most countries across Europe.

Also Read: As India Gears Up To Kick-starts COVID-19 Vaccination Drive From January 16, Dr Randeep Guleria Explains When Will The Common Man Get The Vaccine

“We lost the battle because we changed our mixing patterns over the summer, into the fall and especially around Christmas and the new year,” she said, explaining that many people had multiple contacts with family and friends over the holidays. “That has had a direct impact on the exponential growth that you have seen in many countries,” she said, describing the case count increase in some places as “vertical”.

Dr Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said while there is some evidence variants may be speeding the spread of COVID-19, “there is no evidence that variants are driving any element of severity”. He said the variants shouldn’t alter countries strategies for controlling outbreaks.

It doesn’t change what you do, but it gives the virus some new energy, Dr Ryan said.

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccine Race: Where They Stand Currently

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

26,21,50,955Cases
22,29,25,306Active
3,40,18,299Recovered
52,07,350Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,21,50,955 and 52,07,350 have died; 22,29,25,306 are active cases and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 3:50 am.

India

3,45,87,822 6,990Cases
1,00,5433,316Active
3,40,18,299 10,116Recovered
4,68,980 190Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,87,822 confirmed cases including 4,68,980 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,00,543 and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,34,980 536

11,525 338

64,82,493 853

1,40,962 21

Kerala

51,37,091 3,382

45,138 2,514

50,51,998 5,779

39,955 117

Karnataka

29,95,857 257

6,907 47

29,50,747 205

38,203 5

Tamil Nadu

27,26,197 730

8,291 46

26,81,434 767

36,472 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,725 101

2,102 38

20,56,184 138

14,439 1

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,387 5

86 3

16,87,391 2

22,910

West Bengal

16,15,378 511

7,733 71

15,88,172 571

19,473 11

Delhi

14,40,900 34

285 3

14,15,517 36

25,098 1

Odisha

10,48,880 197

2,165 26

10,38,306 221

8,409 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,779 16

318 12

9,92,868 28

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,770 12

187 12

9,45,628 24

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,435 27

262 22

8,17,081 49

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,150 12

126 4

7,82,496 8

10,528

Haryana

7,71,692 16

165 3

7,61,473 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,219 2

39 2

7,16,517 4

9,663

Telangana

6,75,798 184

3,581 46

6,68,227 137

3,990 1

Assam

6,16,708 140

2,595 96

6,08,015 230

6,098 6

Punjab

6,03,258 18

329 11

5,86,330 26

16,599 3

Jharkhand

3,49,232 11

95 2

3,43,997 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,227 8

132 44

3,36,687 51

7,408 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,681 150

1,626 32

3,30,579 181

4,476 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,093 90

824 29

2,22,422 61

3,847

Goa

1,78,890 24

276 3

1,75,230 19

3,384 2

Mizoram

1,34,810 437

3,805 95

1,30,512 531

493 1

Puducherry

1,28,893 12

296 16

1,26,725 28

1,872

Manipur

1,25,169 17

655 30

1,22,539 43

1,975 4

Tripura

84,791 4

78 8

83,890 10

823 2

Meghalaya

84,461 17

285 16

82,704 32

1,472 1

Chandigarh

65,456 8

58 4

64,578 4

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,273 4

35 2

54,958 2

280

Sikkim

32,233 5

121 6

31,709 11

403

Nagaland

32,109 9

140 5

31,273 4

696

Ladakh

21,540 12

250 18

21,076 29

214 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 4

10,319 4

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683 2

8 2

7,546

129

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