How close is India to achieve herd immunity? What experts say

Published on Jul 25, 2021 09:09 PM IST

'Herd immunity' will not be same across the country, experts have said as some states are still seeing a significant number of infections indicating that the immunity of their population is lower than many other states.

One-third of India's population is still vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. The proportion can be higher in some states.
One-third of India's population is still vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. The proportion can be higher in some states.
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

The latest serosurvey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has revealed that two-thirds of the population have antibodies against Covid-19 infection, while the rest one-third is still vulnerable. Following the national findings, states have also been releasing their serosurvey results which again brings the issue of 'herd immunity' to the fore, as states like Bihar, Odisha have claimed that their serosurvey results indicate that they have nearly achieved herd immunity.

What is herd immunity?

According to World Health Organization's definition, herd immunity, also known as population immunity, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens either through vaccination or through exposure to the previous infection.

Indian population and herd immunity

Experts have said the national serosurvey is an overall situation of the country's population which is not an acute reflection of statewise immunity. While the overall data says 67.6 per cent of people have immunity against Covid in India, the percentage may be more in some states. It can be lower than in some other states. For example, Bihar, Odisha said around 70 per cent of its population have immunity against Covid. On the other hand, only 50 per cent population in Kerala have antibodies, reports said.

AIIMS, New Delhi doctor Yudhyavir Singh has said Delhi might have achieved herd immunity, considering the extent of the second wave of the pandemic, PTI reported.

Last week, Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said India has not achieved herd immunity -- neither through natural infection nor through vaccination. Experts have also said as different states are seeing different trajectories of Covid-19 cases, herd immunity will not be uniform.

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