As Thailand is finally on track to meet immunization targets after administering 56 million vaccines across the country, scientists warn it may be too little too late for the possibility of herd immunity . Virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan from the Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University believes herd immunity may never be achieved at this point in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scientists have again stressed the importance of vaccines and are trying to convey to the public that collective immunity and eradication of Covid-19 are not the only benefits of vaccinations. People who are vaccinated have a significantly lower risk of death, hospitalization, or even severe symptoms when they contract the Covid-19 virus.
Examining the problem of herd immunity, the viroligist cites data from the rest of the world where by the time people got vaccinated to the point of getting herd immunity, new strains and revolutionary infections were digging holes in the plan.
Israel had more than 60% of its population vaccinated with Pfizer by the end of February, and infection and death rates have plummeted. But in July, new Covid-19 infections started to rise again and booster injections were given, with many indoor sites now only allowing people who had previously had Covid-19 or a third booster injection.
Singapore also has around 80% of its population vaccinated now, but is still experiencing a wave of new infections and has started giving booster shots to elderly residents.
Herd immunity has been an effective way to avoid viruses and epidemics throughout history. By a child’s second birthday, 90% of people in the United States are vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella, which has led to herd immunity to disease and, with very little virus circulating, even those who are not vaccinated are at very low risk of infection.
But the same may not be true for Covid-19 where the virus mutated rapidly and limited the effectiveness of vaccines. Doctors are now comparing vaccination efforts to those for tetanus, a disease that cannot be eradicated but can be well controlled with regular booster shots.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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