It was assumed that the pandemic would wane and then fade once 60-70% of the population was vaccinated or had built immunity through a previous infection. “Herd immunity” was the only hope everyone held onto after the dream for a vacation against Covid-19 came true.
But we might be looking at a fantasy here. The new variants like delta are not sparing the vaccinated and pushing the bar to herd immunity higher up. Delta is responsible was more significant outbreaks in countries like the U.S. and U.K., where it was presumed that natural and vaccination-induced immunity account for more than 50%.
The threat of delta
The advent of the delta virus has pushed the threshold of herd immunity to over 80%. Taking hesitance to take vaccination and supply issues in most countries will not allow us to reach those numbers.
Some scientists are of the opinion that a vaccination rate of 95%, too, would not let us achieve herd immunity as there is a fast-paced development of further highly transmissible variants that can evade natural and vaccination immunity.
Immunity is not forever
Natural immunity gained from fighting the Covid-19 virus does not last long enough and has proven to be mostly ineffective in fighting off the upcoming strains. With no herd immunity in the picture, the virus could linger for decades.
Vaccines have not been able to provide a quick resolution. Israel is the country of most vaccinated citizens. It has already started getting to administer its citizens’ booster shots amid the evidence that immunization is not offering the kind of protection anyone would have hoped for.
The most effective vaccines in the world, which include the shots from Pfizer and Moderna Inc, are also experiencing the effects of breakthrough infections, despite the efficacy.
Many public health officials are not ready to give up despite such discouraging news about the impossibility of reaching herd immunity. Governments worldwide are focuses on amplifying their vaccination programs.
But the risk of the virus remains even if another nation experiences a massive outbreak. The singular approach of some countries and shortages in vaccine production are contributors to a global issue of zero respite from the pandemic. It is forecasted that the pandemic will loom over us until 2022 at the earliest.
The target could be further pushed if another transmissible variant of the virus comes into play.
New Vaccines and approaches are under development. Since none of these is in human trials yet, these vaccines would take a few years before becoming a reality.