Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

What is Herd Immunity?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Herd Immunity

Mains level : Coronovirus outbreak and its mitigation

As Europe was declared the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak last week, Britain announced a different strategy to tackle the situation. Officials said that Britain would contain the spread of the virus but would not suppress it completely to build up a degree of ‘herd immunity’.

Herd Immunity

  • Herd immunity is when a large number of people are vaccinated against a disease, lowering the chances of others being infected by it.
  • When a sufficient percentage of a population is vaccinated, it slows the spread of disease.
  • It is also referred to as community immunity or herd protection.
  • The decline of disease incidence is greater than the proportion of individuals immunized because vaccination reduces the spread of an infectious agent by reducing the amount and/or duration of pathogen shedding by vaccines, retarding transmission.
  • The approach requires those exposed to the virus to build natural immunity and stop the human-to-human transmission. This will subsequently halt its spread.

Can it work?

  • Globally, this strategy has been criticized.
  • COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. More people are susceptible to infection.
  • The goal seems to have been delaying urgent action to allow an epidemic to infect large numbers of people.
  • To combat COVID-19, there is an urgent need to implement social distancing and closure policies.
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