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Herd Immunity: Everything You Need To Know

​Coronavirus has taken over the world by storm. During these unprecedented times, you must have heard the term “herd immunity” during the coronavirus disease outbreak. Today we are going to talk about what Herd Immunity is and will it work in India. We will also talk how coronavirus health insurance​ plans provide financial stability.​

What Is Herd Immunity?

Herd Immunity, which is also known as the Community Immunity is the immunity on the community level. Some people can't be vaccinated, either because they have a weak immune system, or they are too young, or they are pregnant, or they have severe allergies. However, if everyone around them gets vaccinated, unvaccinated people are protected by something known as herd immunity. In layman’s term, these unvaccinated people are unlikely to even come in contact with the disease, so they probably won't get sick. 

For instance, if 80% of a population is immune to an infection, that means four out of every five people won’t get sick and will not spread the infection. This way, the spread of contiguous diseases is kept under control. Depending on how contagious infection is, to achieve herd immunity, 70% to 90% of a population needs to get immune to a particular disease. 

Now the big question arises will herd immunity work in a country like India? Well, this question has been around for a while and it is debatable. Some say it can work but some think otherwise. This strategy was discarded by the U.K, is being touted as the solution for poor but young countries like India. However, there are many reasons why herd immunity won’t yet work to stop or slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, especially in a country like India.
Reason 1

Health experts around the globe including World Health Organisation are still learning about this deadly disease and don’t know a lot about COVID-19 immunity, especially what kind of protection it offers, how long immunity lasts, and whether reinfection is possible. Without being sure about these questions, no health expert can give herd immunity a green flag. 

One can also say, pursuing herd immunity without a vaccine is like Charles Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.

Reason 2

The only reason why herd immunity is being recommended for India is that the country has a large young population (more than 80 percent fall below the age of 44), and many of these younger adults will not have a severe reaction to COVID-19.

However, this assumption is problematic as many young Indian adults have dangerous underlying conditions such as hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, and much more. With such high rates of risk factors among the young population, letting the virus spread for the sake of an experimental strategy of herd immunity could lead to severe consequences. 

Reason 3

Relying solely on herd immunity is not possible. It will still have to be supplemented with ramping up health system capacity, increased testing, and implementing gradations of social distancing measures, such as the use of face masks and banning large public gatherings. 

So right now, we should only focus on social distancing, frequent hand washing, and buying health insurance to ensure overall protection.