Once we achieve herd immunity, people who are not vaccinated benefit indirectly from the immunity of those around them. But it’s not easy to say exactly when we’ll reach this threshold for COVID-19.
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New Zealand’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds will bring the number of people eligible for the jab to 85% of the population, raising the chance of reaching collective immunity.
Vaccination has saved millions of lives throughout the course of history.
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Vaccines have successfully curtailed viral diseases for decades. But as COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy shows, mistrust and misinformation continue to put lives at risk.
The level of immunity needed — either through vaccination or infection — for practical herd immunity is uncertain, but may be quite high.
It is unlikely that we will reach full herd immunity for COVID-19. However, we are likely to reach a practical kind of herd immunity through vaccination.
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Many developed countries have approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children as young as 12, even though they are a low-risk group.
Little work has been done to understand young people’s willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Above: a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus on May 6.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
As vaccine eligibility is expanded to adolescents and young adults, understanding who might be more likely to be vaccine hesitant, and why, can help inform public health strategies
Houses in the city of Victoria, the capital of Seychelles.
What does the Seychelles experience tell us about variants, vaccine efficacy and herd immunity?
A gathering of women survivors at a Solace Ministries meeting, near Kigali, Rwanda, in 2010.
Donald E. Miller
A scholar of the Rwandan genocide argues that while a genocide and a pandemic are very different, the experiences of Rwanda’s survivors may provide lessons on how to heal from pandemic trauma.
A woman walks by a sign in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2021.
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Vaccination rates for COVID-19 have been lower than desired for herd immunity, or when enough people become immune for new infections to stop. What will life look like without it?
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The vaccination levels needed to cross the line might not be achievable at all, even in the long term.
It’s quite likely this virus will never be eliminated from the world. But even so, getting vaccinated enormously reduces your risk of severe outcomes like hospitalisation and death.
Relatives of COVID-19 victims walk past a van at Nigambodh Ghat crematorium in New Delhi.
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Stories of reaching herd immunity were certainly premature.
Monterey Mushrooms, an agricultural employer in California, teamed up with its union and the local county to get its workers vaccinated.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Surveys suggest people trust companies more than government and the media, showing they have an important role in helping end the pandemic.
The government should be explicit about what proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated to warrant border reopening. Australians could then measure progress towards that goal.
Waiting in line for a vaccine at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino, California.
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No one likes a long line. But privileging the rich and powerful – as has often been the case – may undermine trust in the vaccine rollout.
Avian cholera is a highly contagious disease that has produced rapid population loss in Northern common eiders.
We can learn about the spread of diseases through populations by studying naturally occurring instances of herd immunity. Avian cholera in the Canadian Arctic provides a useful case study.
Most children don’t get severely ill from COVID-19, but they can still spread the virus.
Copyright Phil Hands/Wisconsin State Journal
With a third of adults saying they likely won’t get the vaccine, the US has a herd immunity math problem.
Medical students’ backgrounds often reflect the diversity of local communities, which can allow them more access and trust for vaccination efforts.
Bryan Goodchild/UMass Medical School
One university is showing how the vaccine corps concept can speed up vaccination rates, including launching a large-scale vaccination site staffed by hundreds of students and volunteers.
Maria Saravia, a worker at the University of Southern California’s Keck Hospital, adjusts her mother’s mask before her COVID-19 vaccination.
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Getting a vaccine is proving difficult for many older people now, but the mad rush for the vaccine won’t last long. Many people don’t want to get one at all, and that will impede herd immunity.
Joe Biden, then president-elect, received his COVID-19 vaccination in December.
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The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has fallen far short of President Trump’s promises. President Biden says he can fix that. Can he?