Amid the outbreak of Coronavirus infection (COVID-19), the term herd immunity emerged, which he said could help suppress the spread of this virus. What is herd immunity, and how effective is it to prevent transmission?
Not only in Indonesia, but Coronavirus infection also occurs in almost all countries. Each country has taken various measures to reduce the rapid transmission of the Coronavirus, from lockdowns to mass rapid tests.
Amid hectic information about COVID-19, the term ‘ herd immunity’ had emerged, which was rumored to be able to end this pandemic. This term is not new in the medical field, but ordinary people rarely know it.
Get to know Herd Immunity.
Herd immunity is a condition when most people in a group already have protection against certain infectious diseases. The more people who are immune to an infection, the more difficult it is to spread because not many people can be infected.
The way that can be taken to get immunity in many people at once is vaccination. Take the example of polio vaccination. When a person receives the polio vaccine, his body forms specific protection against the poliovirus.
Once there was a poliovirus entering the person’s body, the body’s immune system was ready to fight the poliovirus, so the virus died and did not cause polio. That way, the infection also cannot spread to other people.
Imagine if, at the same time, almost everyone in the same group as that person also had immunity against the poliovirus. Of course, the chance for polio to cause disease and be transmitted is tiny.
Automatically, this condition can also protect people who have not received the polio vaccine in the group, such as newborns and pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems, such as AIDS sufferers and people who are undergoing chemotherapy.
In addition to vaccines, immunity can also be obtained naturally by people who have recovered from specific infectious diseases. After recovering from an infectious disease, the body will have antibodies to fight the germs that cause the infection if one day, these germs attack again.
The more people who are infected and recover, the more people who are immune and herd immunity will be formed. However, the formation of herd immunity naturally requires quite a long time, and the risk is not small.
Can Herd Immunity Suppress the Spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia?
Until now, there has been no vaccine for the Coronavirus. Researchers are still trying to develop the vaccine. So, the formation of herd immunity through vaccination can not be done.
While the formation of herd immunity naturally by allowing many people to be infected with the Coronavirus in Indonesia is also not a wise way, for a country with more than 300 million people like Indonesia, it takes a long time to achieve herd immunity.
Not only that. Because COVID-19 can be fatal, the death toll from this infection will be high even before herd immunity is reached. Not to mention, few people in Indonesia are vulnerable to Coronavirus infections, for example, the elderly or people with comorbidities, such as lung disease or diabetes.
These are the reasons why the concept of herd immunity cannot be expected to end the COVID-19 pandemic, before the discovery of a vaccine for the Coronavirus.
The best way that can be applied is to break the chain of transmission, namely by making various efforts to prevent transmission. Apply physical distancing, do regular hand washing, maintain endurance, and limit going outside the home.
Perform independent isolation if you have a fever and cough accompanied by shortness of breath, especially if you are in a COVID-19 endemic area in the last two weeks. After that, contact the COVID-19 hotline at 119 Ext. 9 for further direction.