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Herd Immunity Against Delta Variant – Is It Really Possible?

By Shantanu Sodhi +2 more

When people were hoping to develop herd immunity after enough people would have recovered from COVID-19 or got vaccinated against it, the head of the UK’s Oxford Vaccine Group has warned that it may never be possible.

The leader of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine developer team, Professor Andrew Pollard, has claimed that nothing can eliminate the possibility of even more transmissible variants of Coronavirus. Therefore, we would never be able to put a full stop to the spread of the virus.

He, however, has also mentioned that there is nothing to “panic” while expressing his doubts over the third booster dose suggested by the government of the United Kingdom.

What did Prof. Pollard say?

He clarified that the Delta variant is not in any way similar to measles, which could not spread in a community where 95 percent of the population has already been inoculated.

More points he highlighted are –

  • The delta variant will still infect those who have been vaccinated
  • Unvaccinated people are bound to get infected sooner or later
  • We are not equipped to stop the transmission
  • Hence, herd immunity is not possible
  • Every time, the virus will mutate into something else which would be more contagious
  • Vaccines would not be able to stop the transmission of the mutated versions

Support to the theory

Professor Pollard’s views were supported by Paul Hunter who is also a professor at the University of East Anglia. Prof. Hunter is a very credible expert in infectious diseases. He was the same professor who first mentioned that the current vaccines are surely giving protection against severe COVID-19 infection and death but they cannot eliminate the possibility of infection entirely.

What Did Prof. Hunter say?

Describing herd immunity as “unachievable”, he said that that infection will keep spreading among the unvaccinated populations and also added that the latest data suggests that the two doses of the vaccines are only providing 50 percent of protection against infection.

Pro Third Dose Experts

Some experts believe that Professor Pollard’s doubts over the third dose are not relevant and the plan of UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid to administer the third booster shot along with a flu vaccine to those who are at a higher risk of getting infected is a smart choice. This has been proposed to be brought into action from September onwards.

When should we actually administer the Third Dose?

Professor Pollard suggests that we may consider administering the third dose to vulnerable people if we see more hospitalisations or deaths among the vaccinated people.

While accepting that the level of immunity does drop after a certain period of time, he pointed out that our immune system still remembers the body getting vaccinated and this memory lasts for decades. 

Hence, there is nothing to panic about at the moment. Raising another very important point, Professor Pollard said that these doses should be transported to those places of the world where people have not been vaccinated and where these can actually create a greater impact.

What are the current stats of COVID-19 Infection in India?

Fresh cases recorded on Monday – 32,937

Total deaths recorded on Monday – 417

No of doses administered – Over 55 crore

COVID hotspot in India – Karnataka, accounting for more than 50 percent of the total cases


Although we do not have the right resources as of yet to stop the spread of COVID-19, we surely do not need to panic and just have to adhere to the protocols established by your local authorities. We can only stop the spread and protect our loved ones if we abide by the rules. As suggested by the experts, the situation is going to get better with time.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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