IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 17th Nov 2020
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama
EDITORIAL HUNT #245 :“The Journey to Herd Immunity | UPSC”
The Journey to Herd Immunity | UPSC
War against virus
Herd immunity debate shows that both scientific and moral judgement matters in Covid battle.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Diseases : Health
The COVID-19 situation underscores the importance of combining good science with prudent judgment to meet the needs of large populations. Comment -(GS 3)
- Herd Immunity
- Sero Surveillance
- A community Approach
- Issues and Solutions.
- POPULATION IMMUNITY : ‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.
SOURCES : VP SLAKE SHORE HOSPTALS | The Journey to Herd Immunity | UPSC
HERD IMMUNITY AND COVID-19
- CONCEPT OF HERD IMMUNITY : Originating in veterinary public health, it entered the lexicon of human health epidemiology exactly a century ago in the context of explosive diphtheria outbreaks.
- A COMPLEX DISCOURSE : Herd immunity is continually debated in the ever complex discourse of COVID-19.
- VULNERABLE POPULATION : Serosurvey results from across the country indicate spread of the contagion across urban and rural areas, more so in the urban and particularly among slum populations.
- END OF THE PANDEMIC : The conventional wisdom of herd immunity is that it marks the end of the epidemic.
DERIVATION ON HERD IMMUNITY
HOW CAN HERD IMMUNITY BE ACHIEVED?
- FORMULA : In the case of COVID-19, with Ro= 3, the formula to achieve Herd immunity or Herd immunity threshold is Ro-R1/Ro = 3-1/3= 2/3 = 67%. (R1 is an R0 value of 1).
The Journey to Herd Immunity | UPSC
HOW WILL THE HERD IMMUNITY WORK?
- THE POPULATION ACQUIRING IMMUNITY BY A NATURAL INFECTION: Let us assume a population of 1.3 billion, the SARS COV2 doubling rate is said to be about 3-5 days.
- DOUBLING RATE : Hence the number of people falling ill will be 67% of the population doubling in 3-5 days -> 87,100,000.
- FLATTENING THE CURVE : Slowing down the rate of infection by partial lockdown or shorter duration of lockdown, thus ‘Flattening the curve’.
The problem with this strategy is that coming out of lockdown can result in:
- The second wave of infection.
- Infection within the community ( asymptomatic).
- Visitors importing cases into the community.
OTHER WAYS OF ACHIEVING HERD IMMUNITY
- SLOWING DOWN THE RATE OF INFECTION : Longer duration of lockdown can result in 1 )Mutations in the virus 2 ) Multiple strains 3 ) Less virulent strains 4 ) Negative effects on the economy and all its implications.
- CONTINUING WITHOUT A LOCKDOWN : Precautionary measures like increased COVID testing. Ex : Hydroxychloroquine ( prescription drug ): associated with dangerous side effects (eg: arrhythmia).
- “FOCUSED PROTECTION” : This method has negative physical and mental health consequences under current COVID-19 management policies.
- COMPASSIONATE APPROACH : A “compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity” to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally , while better protecting those who are at highest risk.
- COMMUNITARIANISM : The core being that human identities are shaped by different kinds of social relations in communities that shape our moral and political judgments.
- ADAPTIVE MODEL : Japan and Vietnam are models of successfully handling the situation through an “adaptive model” in which there are substantial changes in the health system organisation and its responses appropriate to time and context.
- NOT THE ONLY SOLUTION : Herd immunity is when the vast majority of a population are vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population.
- PROTECTING THE UNPROTECTED : As a result, not every single person needs to be vaccinated to be protected, which helps ensure vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated are kept safe.
- SAFE VACCINES : Achieving herd immunity with safe and effective vaccines makes diseases rarer and saves lives.
- TALKING ABOUT HERD IMMUNITY : Until we have a vaccine, anyone talking about herd immunity as a preventative strategy for COVID-19 is not being realistic.
Most countries professed several policies to address vulnerabilities, but implementation challenges abound.
SOURCES: THE IE & HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | The Journey to Herd Immunity | UPSC