Mandatory COVID vaccine only way to achieve herd immunity: Doctors association

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Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said mandatory Covid-19 vaccination is the only way to achieve herd immunity.

“That would bring an end to the ongoing public health crisis,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS).

Hassan said herd immunity is achieved when a large portion of a community becomes immune to the disease, making the spread of the disease from person to person unlikely.

“Mandatory immunization is an efficient method of perpetuating herd immunity which protects not only those who have been vaccinated but also those who cannot be vaccinated,” he said.

Hassan said Covid-19 continues to pose grave threat to public health. It causes serious disease in individuals and is killing people. Infected persons have the potential to spread it to others endangering lives of people

“That makes mandatory vaccination ethically justified,” he said.

The DAK President said early in the pandemic, it was estimated that around 70 percent of people would need to be vaccinated to reach the threshold at which the virus would not freely circulate.

“But the spread of more infectious Delta variant has pushed the threshold for herd immunity to well over 80 percent and potentially approaching 90 percent,” he said.

As per the vaccination data from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, J-K has administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 51,75,592 people as on 7 August 2021. The figure represents 41.4 percent of J-K’s 1.25 crore population. Full vaccination (both doses) has been given to 14, 28,185 people which represent 11.4 percent of the population.

“Merely giving people information on the importance of vaccine does not always result in willingness to take the vaccine,” Hassan said.

“Evidence has found that vaccine mandate is the most effective out of several options to increase the vaccination coverage,” he said. “When enough people get vaccinated, the virus cannot find any host to survive and replicate.”

“This is how pandemic would subside and even become eradicated,” he added.

“Not only is reaching herd immunity important, but how fast we reach herd immunity is also important as in pandemic time is lives. The sooner we get more people vaccinated, the sooner we start reliving our lives,” said Hassan.(GNS)

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