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Global herd immunity with COVID-19 vaccines will take 2-3 years
Published on: 2021-05-14
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Achieving global herd immunity against COVID-19 through mass vaccination will take two to three years, said China's top respiratory disease specialist, Zhong Nanshan.

One way to achieve herd immunity is through natural infection (infection without interference), which means 70-80% of people infected and 5% of people die globally, which would be "unrealistic, unscientific and inhumane," he said.

Mass vaccination is another way to achieve herd immunity and would require global coordination over a period of two to three years, he said.

The epidemiologist presented a set of research data on how high vaccination rates should be in different parts of the world in order to achieve herd immunity.

If vaccine efficacy is 70 percent, then for China, the vaccination rate should reach 83.3 percent of the population, whereas around the world, the rate should be 89.2 percent.

For Asia and Europe, the rates should reach 80.2 and 96.2, respectively.

With a vaccine efficacy of 80 percent, 72.9 percent of people in China should be vaccinated to reach herd immunity, while the figure would be 78 percent for the world, 70.2 percent for Asia and 84.2 percent for Europe, according to the statistics that Zhong presented.

At the conference, Zhong said that although China currently leads the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 vaccinations administered, the coverage rate in the country is still lagging, at only about 23 percent. But China could reach the vaccination rate of 70 percent by the end of 2021 if the vaccine supply is sufficient.



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