Herd immunity against COVID-19 cannot be an option in India: Centre

Herd immunity happens only when a population becomes immune either through vaccination or immunity is developed through a previous infection, says Union Health Ministry

Covid-19
Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty in the Union Health Ministry, says herd immunity was a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease like COVID-19. Photo: PTI

Given the population and demography of India, herd immunity could not be an option in India, the health ministry said on Thursday (July 30). It added that herd immunity could be achieved through immunisation, but that was in the future.

During a press conference, Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty in the Union Health Ministry, said herd immunity was a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease like COVID-19. It happens only when a population becomes immune either through vaccination or immunity is developed through a previous infection, he said.

“Are we approaching herd immunity? The health ministry believes it still far away and in the future. For now, we have to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, following hand hygiene and maintaining do gaz ki doori (a distance of two yards),” Bhushan said.

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Phase 1 and 2 human clinical trials of two indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidates had started, the officer said, adding that the government had, so far, received 131 claims under the ₹50 lakh COVID-19 insurance scheme for healthcare providers and payments have already been made in 20 cases.

“Out of these 131 claims, in 20 cases payments have already been made. In Sixty-four cases payment has been processed and would be made in the coming few days while 47 cases are with different state governments,” he said.

Bhushan said Maharashtra, Delhi and Telangana had reported the maximum number of cases. Due to enhanced testing infrastructure, on an average 4,68,263 COVID-19 tests have been conducted daily from July 26 to 30. The recovery rate among patients too has increased from 7.85 per cent in April to 64.44 per cent on Thursday, the officer said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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