What is herd immunity?
What is herd immunity? Thanks for asking!
Also known as community immunity, herd immunity is an indirect form of protection against an infectious disease. It occurs when a high enough percentage of the population has acquired immunity either naturally or through vaccination. This then prevents the spread of the disease, protecting those who are not yet immune. Herd immunity is generally beneficial for people who cannot be vaccinated due to their medical situation, for example if they have immunodeficiency or are waiting for a transplant.
And what does it mean in the case of the COVID 19 pandemic ?
In the case of the COVID 19 pandemic, this means allowing people to gain immunity by contracting the virus and of course recovering. Their organisms build their own defense system by developing the necessary antibodies. In other words, if you are not immunized yourself, but you only encounter people who are immunized, you aren’t at risk of being infected.
The percentage of infected people varies by location, and there’s no way of having reliable data on this without widespread testing. Especially as infected people sometimes don’t show any symptoms. Experts have estimated that up to 10% of the population may have had coronavirus in some countries. In any case, the figure is a long way off the 66% required to make herd immunity effective.
So why are so many of us in lockdown then? Aren’t these measures preventing us from reaching herd immunity? Wouldn’t countries be putting their citizens in danger through such a policy? And what about all the unknown factors? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!
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