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Herd immunity not a magic wand: Public Health Foundation of India

Dr Srinath Reddy emphasised that banking on herd immunity and using that as a yardstick to lower one’s guard was wrong.

Published: 13th August 2021 07:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2021 07:42 AM   |  A+A-

A child undergoes the Covid-19 test at Fever Hospital, on Thursday.

A child undergoes the Covid-19 test at Fever Hospital, on Thursday. (Photo | VINAY MADAPU)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Busting major myths around future waves of Covid- 19, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) president Dr K Srinath Reddy stated that banking on the concept of herd immunity would prove costly and deadly. If individuals travel from their usual residence, locality or state where the herd immunity exists, to a place where it may not exist, they would be susceptible, he emphasised. He was speaking at the Covid- Wise- Lessons Learnt and Unlearnt webinar, organised by CCMB on learnings from one year of the pandemic.

Dr Srinath Reddy emphasised that banking on herd immunity and using that as a yardstick to lower one’s guard was wrong. “The initial estimate was 60-70% of the population must be immune for virus transmission to stall, but as more infectious variants have come in, estimates suggest 80-90% population need immunity. Now the national ICMR’s sero survey suggests about 60-70% immunity and this is far behind the new herd immunity estimates,” the PHFI chief explained. He further pointed out that the sero survey in no way conveys the quality of the immunity, whether it could fight off new infection or how long it lasts.

“There is a misconception that if many are infected, a herd immunity cordon forms around those people who are not vaccinated and uninfected. But if these vulnerable people move around to say another State with herd immunity levels at 30%, then they will be susceptible,” he added, stating: “Herd immunity is not a magic wand to carry from one herd to another.” In the meantime, Dr Jacob John from CMC Vellore opined that a strong public health body would be of greater use in checking Covid than the NDMA.

TS records 453 new cases of Covid-19

Telangana recorded 453 cases of Covid-19, on Thursday, when the State conducted 89,675 tests. With this, TS’ active caseload reached 8,137. The day also witnessed three deaths, taking the toll to 3,836. While GHMC limits saw 69 cases, Karimnagar and Warangal (Urban) recorded 55 and 38 cases respectively



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