Amidst this coronavirus outbreak, you might have heard about the term “Herd Immunity”. Health experts and various national leaders suggest it might be a good way to stop or control the spread of this new disease. So what exactly is this “Herd Immunity”? Let’s find out:
Herd immunity as the name suggests is also called community immunity or group protection. When most people of a population are immune to an infectious disease, it provides indirect protection or herd immunity to those who are not immune to the disease. The more people are immune, the lesser is the virus spread. For example, if 70% of a population is immune to a virus, 3 out of every 4 people who stumble upon with the infection won’t fall sick or won’t spread the disease any further. In this manner, the spread of viral infection is kept under control.
Herd immunity can stop the spread of most illnesses, such as swine flu, and other pandemics within a country. Hence, health officials suggest that the current COVID 19 chain can be broken with this kind of group immunity model.
People Who Depend on Herd Immunity
For certain people, herd immunity is a vital way of protecting themselves against life-threatening diseases. These groups are:
- Senior citizens
- New-born babies
- Individuals with a history of chronic diseases
- People who have compromised immune systems, eg. People on chemotherapy treatment, those suffering from autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc.
- Those who are very ill in hospital
Vaccines create herd immunity too. Various efforts are underway towards the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus, but there could be a wait as long as up to a year before a safe vaccine is made available.
However, we as individuals can try to strengthen our immunity by following some healthy-living strategies. Here are some tips: