COVID-19: What is Herd Immunity, and how does it work?

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The world has gone through unprecedented changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People needed to observe stringent health protocols and physical distancing mandates to reduce the likelihood of contracting and spreading the disease. Moreover, many establishments were forced to move with limited capacity or close down.

These shifts in daily lives have created a “new normal” setting. Consequently, people learned to adjust to this novel way of doing activities so that they could regain a sense of normalcy despite moving in a pandemic-affected world.

Soon after, pharmaceutical firms began developing vaccines to help individuals boost their immunity and gain better protection against the disease. These vaccines take effect by stimulating a person’s immune system to generate proteins called “antibodies.” These antibodies are responsible for fighting infections, thus protecting the individual from catching and transmitting the pathogen. Eventually, vaccines can help effectively break transmission chains.

Once these vaccines were available for public distribution, governments rolled out vaccination programs on a large scale. The goal of administering the doses is to achieve herd immunity.

Also known as population immunity, herd immunity is attained when the effects of immunity have been scaled to a population level coming from the individual level. This population-wide effect is typically considered in the context of vaccination efforts. Herd immunity protects not only the vaccinated but also the unvaccinated individuals. With the majority of the population inoculated, it can help reduce the likelihood of infection.

In Europe, about 81.4% of the adult population has been inoculated against COVID-19. For a person to be recognised as fully vaccinated, they need to complete the doses as recommended by the manufacturer. Most require two, but some brands require only a single dose. 

Similar to vaccines for other diseases, antibodies produced from COVID-19 vaccination will gradually drop over time. This is why booster shots are needed to increase the antibody levels again. Currently, governments offer booster shots to individuals who have already completed their first two doses.

Still, even if countries continually conduct vaccination programs to gain herd immunity, it remains imperative to promote coronavirus testing. Knowing whether someone is positive for the virus or not significantly helps in treating the disease and preventing further transmission. This is especially important for travellers. They must present a fit to fly COVID test when they go abroad. Neglecting this protocol can lead to self-endangerment or the endangerment of other passengers if there is another disease outbreak.

Before choosing which coronavirus test to take, travellers must determine the type their destination country allows. Many accept PCR tests, but some governments also allow rapid antigen tests. It would be impractical to get one kind of test only to find out later that it is not accepted by the country the traveller will go to. Researching this information ahead of time prevents hassles and saves valuable time.

The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually end, but until then, people should do their part and stay vigilant against the virus. Stringent vaccination efforts to achieve herd immunity coupled with adherence to health protocols and pandemic mandates are vital in ending the global health crisis. To learn more about the topic, continue reading this infographic provided by Official Rapid Tests that further explains what COVID-19 population immunity is and how it works.

Official Rapid Tests by Harley Medic International is a government-recognised provider of affordable COVID-19 testing kits. Whether you need a PCR or rapid antigen test, you can rely on this trusted provider. You may reach them today via their website.

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