Herd immunity in near future a myth: Experts

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

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The process of unlocking according to the guidelines by epidemiologists has to be slow and gradual

People throng Sarojini Nagar market for shopping after authorities eased a lockdown imposed as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in New Delhi on June 19, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

HYDERABAD: Herd immunity is not possible with the risky behaviour of people immediately after unlocking, say experts. The process of unlocking according to the guidelines by epidemiologists has to be slow and gradual.

Dr Rajan Shukla, associate professor of Indian Institute of Public Health says, "Restrictions are to be lifted in a controlled manner and according to step-wise plan using a two-week incubation period. Closure of essential business must be lifted first and returning of workforce to establishments must be in a phased manner. Hurry to relax lockdown and failure to apply scientific principles expose the community to a rapid, large third wave with possibility of a virulent mutant."

With the process of vaccination going on and there being a large population to be covered, total lifting of restrictions has an adverse impact, he says.

Experts say that the persisting situation in India and the experiences of the world have affirmed that herd immunity is not anywhere close. A senior doctor and infection specialist on condition of anonymity says, "In the medical set up, our evaluation is that herd immunity in the immediate future is a myth. It will require continuous and stronger interventions from time to time to reach herd immunity. Till then, we have to be prepared to meet the challenges of constant small and big waves of Covid-19."

Experts state that the situation will evolve differently once a sizable population is vaccinated. That too will be testing times as vaccinated people too are being infected. Although the severity is less, there are still people who are succumbing to the virus after vaccination, they add.