Since the start of the ongoing health crisis, many people firmly believe that achieving herd immunity is the only way to end the pandemic regardless of the multiple warnings from the medical community. Now that several trials for coronavirus vaccine have reported positive results, global immunity may be easier to develop after the widespread distribution of the vaccination, as said by Dr. Anothony Fauci.
Precisely, herd immunity is developed when the majority of the global population has immunity from a specific pathogen. There is no fixed timeline for the process and it can even take from months to years depending on several factors.
The Spanish flu pandemic is one of the most discussed global health crisis when it comes to talking about widespread immunity. The pandemic lasted for almost two years and was a cause of millions of deaths around the world.
On the other hand, coronavirus pandemic is different in terms of advancements in medical health and a number of other factors. In comparison with H1N1, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is much more contagious and deadly.
The coronavirus infection can have long-term effects even on people who have contracted and recovered from it. Secondly, post-recovery health issues are unpredictable in many cases.
Although at-risk groups have been identified including older adults and people with existent medical conditions, healthy people can also develop a severe form of infection or after-effects.
Therefore, relying on herd immunity alone may even lead to a higher number of deaths than the Spanish flu pandemic, which is why the medical community was against the idea of promoting it as the only way to end the pandemic.
Now that a vaccine for coronavirus may be launched soon, there are higher chances of widespread immunity against the coronavirus. According to Dr. Fauci, it is possible that the vast majority of people do become immune to the virus by the summer of next year.
Though Dr. Fauci has been against the concept, a vaccine can make it easier to achieve global immunity. However, he also warns that a number of other factors also matter if herd immunity is to be achieved by summer 2021.
For instance, the efficient distribution of vaccines is the key to developing widespread immunity. It is also one of the main challenges now along with transportation of the vaccines.
There is a need to make getting a vaccine for coronavirus easy for all people in order to make the majority immune to the virus.
Additionally, people should not forget the importance of following precautions for the coronavirus infection while getting a vaccine. As Dr. Fauci said previously, a vaccine alone cannot control the pandemic.
Even after distribution, people will need to take preventive measures as the process will be slow and most will be unvaccinated for a very long time. The coronavirus pandemic can only come to end latest by the summer of next year through a collaborative effort by all people.
It is understandable that most are developing pandemic fatigue since it is going on since the start of the year but neglecting preventive guidelines and indulging in behaviors that spread the virus even after getting the vaccine may prolong the crisis even further.