Delhi may be very close to acquiring herd immunity against coronavirus

State Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the 5th serological survey shows 56.13% population has developed antibodies for COVID

The large number of migrant labourer population makes Coimbatore more susceptible to the virus. Photo: PTI

In an indication that the national capital is inching towards herd immunity against COVID, a little more than 50% of its residents have been found to have got exposed to coronavirus — the virus that causes the disease — at some point of time and have developed antibodies against it.

The findings of the 5th serological survey seem to indicate herd immunity will be acquired soon, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday (February 2). He, however,  warned people to stay alert and maintain social distancing norms.

“Antibodies have been detected in 56.13 percent of the population in a survey done involving 28,000 samples. The overall seroprevalence is a little over 56%. Higher value of seroprevalence is favourable. Delhi has largely won the battle against COVID-19, though we should continue to practice COVID-appropriate behaviour,” Jain said.

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The Delhi government carried out the largest sero survey ever to get an idea about how many people in the national capital could have developed antibodies against COVID-19 even as the vaccination drive progresses smoothly all over the country.

Herd immunity is achieved when a larger part of the population (at least 50 per cent, according to scientists) develops antibodies and becomes immune to a virus. It happens so because the chain of transmission is broken, which reduces the spread  of the disease.

The first sero survey was done in Delhi during the months of June-July last year. The results then showed 23.4 per cent of people surveyed had developed antibodies against the virus. In August, results showed 29.1 per cent people had developed antibodies. However, the number dipped in September (25.1 per cent) and October (25.5 per cent).

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Meanwhile, the Delhi government said it will increase the number of vaccination centres from 106 to 183 starting Tuesday.

On Monday (February 1), about 8,000 healthcare workers took the COVID-19 vaccine in Delhi. A total of 15 vaccine takers reported adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). Ten of them had taken Covishield, while five were given Covaxin.

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