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WHO: Herd immunity unlikely in 2021

Is herd immunity to the coronavirus achievable this year with mass vaccinations?

Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would take time as other nations have just begun to roll out their vaccines.

WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, quoted in a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), warned Monday that the number of infections has already reached more than 90 million people worldwide and deaths are approaching two million.

Other experts are also concerned with the rapid spread of new variants of the virus such as the variant first detected in Britain, which is feared to be significantly more transmissible.

Swaminathan stressed that it is still critical for countries to maintain strict social distancing and other outbreak control measures.

In order to achieve herd immunity, scientists estimate that the needed vaccinate rate is about 70 percent of the entire population in order to get protected against a disease.

However, there are fears that due to the extremely infectious nature of COVID-19, there could be a significantly higher threshold.

As of now, the majority of vaccines have been bought by rich countries. Developing countries like the Philippines have yet to roll out its vaccination program. (ES)

Staff Report

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