‘Bank on herd immunity only after 60% vaccination’

President of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) K. Srinath Reddy has advocated for strengthening the healthcare system from the primary level to effectively face the third wave of coronavirus infection, as and when it happens, and cautioned against any complacency in following COVID norms.

Speaking after virtually receiving the P.V. Narasimha Rao Lifetime Achievement Award on the occasion of the conclusion of birth centenary celebration of the former Prime Minister on Monday, the public health expert said the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic was only a speculation now but when it becomes a certainty, it would be only due to complacency.

Stating that the herd immunity was an attribute of the population and not an individual, Dr. Srinath Reddy, who was associated with P.V. Narasimha Rao as his personal physician during his tenure as the Prime Minister, said people who were neither vaccinated nor have developed herd immunity would be vulnerable to the infection when they go out of the “safe environment” they were in now.

He cautioned against super spreader events either allowed as part of “unlock” or organised as celebrations and congregations by organisations or individuals as “virus too will celebrate such occasions to spread itself further”. He also suggested people to be cautious while travelling as it too could allow spread of virus.

“It’s not the infrastructure such as ventilator and oxygen beds that would help face the third wave, but strengthening of the healthcare system and following the COVID norms scrupulously would do,” Dr. Reddy said adding that all such efforts should be unified, countrywide.

He observed that the impression that the first wave of the COVID pandemic was well controlled with a long lockdown and unwinding it in phases was erroneous. The devastation of the second wave was enormous as it caught everyone on the wrong foot.

The distinguished cardiologist, who headed the Cardiology Department at AIIMS, New Delhi, before he quit public service, said herd immunity would be effective with at least 60% threshold vaccination. The viral transmission would come down with such large-scale vaccination as had happened in Brazil, where deaths have come down by 90% and infections by 86% after vaccination.

Dr. Srinath Reddy suggested speeding up of vaccination, ecological sensibility and following COVID protocols would only help confront the virus confidently.

Crime Today News | Hyderabad


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