Herd Immunity against Corona

Experts pin hopes on vaccination

Mohammad Al Amin

12th February, 2021 11:14:43 printer

Experts pin hopes on vaccination

Bangladesh will achieve herd immunity against coronavirus soon as vaccination is rolling out across the country and the daily Covid-19 detection rate has also lowered to below 3 percent for last few days.

Experts said new coronavirus cases continued their sharp decline over the past week — progress that could help the Bangladesh find its way out of the pandemic faster and more safely, if it keeps up for at least two consecutive weeks.

Getting the virus' spread under control is the key to saving lives and reopening educational institutions and continuing other normal life activities here, they added.

“I hope we will achieve herd immunity soon against coronavirus for developing antibody naturally and through vaccination. I request the country’s people receive the vaccine,” Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told the Daily Sun.

He however, said there is no alternative to maintain hygiene and follow all necessary other preventive measures like wearing face mask to stay protected from the coronavirus vaccine.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Dr ASM Alamgir, Principal Scientific Officer of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), warned that if people do not follow the preventive measures including wearing the face mask and washing hands then the number of coronavirus infection may rise anytime in the country.

He claimed that the coronavirus infection rate has declined as a result of following the preventive measures including wearing mask and washing hands regularly by people of the country.

The official data shows that Bangladesh is currently recording a low number of new coroanvirus infection cases and deaths while the recovery rate has been increasing day by day.

According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said the Covid-19 positivity rate has been below 5% for the last 22 days and under 3% for the last eight days. 

The DGHS data said 2.82% (404) coronavirus infection has been detected after testing samples in 24 hours till February 12 morning, 2.65% (418) were reported on February 11, 2.59% (388) on February 10, 2.67% (387) on February 9, 2.30% (316) on February 8, 2.35% (292) on February 7, 2.51% (305) on February 6 and 2.79% (435) on February 5.

The health directorate said 8,962 general beds out of total 10,323 dedicated for Covid-19 patients remained vacant and 414 ICU beds among total 582 were vacant till February 12.

The Some 2,279 general beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients out of total 3,233 remained vacant on February 12 while 195 ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds remained vacant out of total 297 in Dhaka city.

In Chattogram city, 554 out of total 687 general beds remained vacant and 25 ICU beds among 45 remained vacant in the same time.  

The health experts hoped that the country’s Covid-19 situation in this country will improve in the upcoming summer and things will normalize accordingly as the immunization process has started.

Describing reasons behind dropping the coronavirus infection rate, Dr Nazrul Islam, also a top virologist of the country said “Viral interference is one of the major causes for declining the coroanvirus infection rate in the country in winter. And another reason is developing antibody among people naturally.”

“I have a hypothesis that long before Covid-19, four other old respiratory viruses (Influenza, Parainfluenza type 3, Rhinovirus, Respiratory syncytial virus) existed in our country. During winter these viruses dominated the human body without giving any chance to Covid-19,” he added.

Quoting an IEDCR-icddr,b study conducted on samples collected till July 15, Dr Nazrul, also the former VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said that 6% of the people living in slum areas were infected with Covid-19 while 74% had the antibody to fight that.

He however, hoped that the coronavirus infection will not rise in upcoming summer due to countrywide Covid-19 vaccination programme and developing antibody naturally.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 'Herd immunity', happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.

To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population.

One of the aims with working towards herd immunity is to keep vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated for health conditions, safe and protected from the disease.

The DGHS said 13,28436 people registered for Covid-19 vaccine till 2:30pm on February 12 and 5,42,309 people already received the coronavirus vaccine in the country till February 11. The countrywide inoculation was started on February 7 aiming to vaccine 35 million people in the first month.

In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that the positivity rate should be below five percent for at least two consecutive weeks before governments considered reopening.

The Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque recently said "The positivity rate has been near three percent for many days. We are in a good situation and we have to try maintaining it."