KOCHI: How close is the state to achieving herd immunity? The seroprevalence survey carried out in July revealed that 44% of the population in the state had Covid antibodies.
Experts opine that the state has come a long way since then, and a larger percentage of the population today may have developed antibodies, considering how the infection has spread rapidly in the last two months.
With the vaccination also going on in full swing, hope is high that herd immunity is not very far.
Since July 1, more than 11.5 lakh new Covid cases have been reported in the state.
As for vaccination, 1.5 crore more doses have been administered. As many as 1.04 crore more people have received at least one dose and 45.5 lakh more have been fully vaccinated.
Around 22% of the population is fully vaccinated, while 61% is partially vaccinated.
“Since July, Kerala has come a long way. We are on the path to achieving herd immunity and, therefore, there is no need to worry. There is really no point in worrying about the high numbers being reported as the key factors are the severity and number of deaths, where Kerala is better placed than other states,” said Dr T Jacob John, former professor of clinical virology at CMC, Vellore.
Dr Monu Varghese, a Kochi-based pulmonologist, said if around 50% of the population is fully vaccinated and 45% has got antibodies in seroprevalence, herd immunity can be achieved.
“The pace of vaccination is good here. If at all herd immunity is achieved in two to three months, further waves and surges can be averted. We will have new variants but the severity will be low,” said Dr Varghese.
“Around 40 lakh people have been infected so far, but two to 2.5 times this number might have actually been infected. Many asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases may have gone unrecorded. That means around 1.3 crore people might have been infected, as per a conservative estimate. Also, there is another section of population that includes those who received the first jab after recovering from Covid. They will have hybrid immunity. When herd immunity is achieved, the crucial phase of pandemic will be over,” said Dr Padmanabha Shenoy, immunologist and public health expert.
‘Studies on immunity given by vaccination needed’
Rather than counting on herd immunity, there should be more studies on the scale of immunity provided by vaccines, said Dr G Vijayaraghavan, founder-director of Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences.