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"We are nowhere near what we consider herd immunity": Abinash Virk

Vaccines to prevent the covid-19 disease may represent the best hope to end the pandemic and although the situation of acquisition and application of vaccines for all countries is different, for medical personnel it is still hopeful.

By April 1 in Colombia, the Ministry of Health reported that to date 2,243,392 immunizers have been applied against covid-19 and that 286,067 citizens have been vaccinated with the two doses, mainly first-line medical personnel and seniors. 80 years old. For their part, more than 60 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaccination efforts come at a time when healthcare experts are concerned that people are laxing in safety precautions.

“We are all concerned that there is a fourth global wave,” says Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease expert and co-chair of Mayo Clinic’s covid-19 vaccine delivery and allocation task force. “We have already had three waves. And every time the waves went down, people got excited to the point of taking off their masks and stopped taking all the precautions we recommend. Right now, it’s the same situation, ”he stated.

Now, even if you get the vaccine, keep in mind that it will take a few weeks for your body to develop immunity after you get the vaccine. As a result, you may be able to become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after you have been vaccinated.

“We all want to go back to our normal life. But recent data has shown that there is an increase in the number of cases. The most worrying thing we have now is that during the last days and weeks the variants have increased substantially. There is concern that the fourth wave may be largely made up of variants of covid-19, especially since many people are not yet vaccinated. And that is the reason why we have to continue to wear masks in public, social distance and practice good hand hygiene, until a significant number of people are substantially vaccinated ”, emphasizes the doctor.

Remember that when you are vaccinated, your risk of contracting the virus may be low. But if you do get infected, you could spread the virus to other people, even if you don’t have signs or symptoms of the disease.

One of the goals of the vaccination effort is to achieve population immunity, also known as herd immunity, which means that the majority of the population or a large percentage is protected against a certain disease.

According to the expert “Based on the fact that we have only had around 20% of the population vaccinated, although we have had around 30 million people who have had infection: we are not even close to what we consider herd immunity. What we consider to be good herd immunity at a level that will be helpful in reversing this pandemic is that around 70 to 80% of the population has to be protected. And we’re not close to that yet. “

The good news is that most vaccines have been shown to be effective and safe. “What the data shows us is that most vaccines are extremely safe,” says Dr. Virk. “Not only that, but these vaccines are also very effective in preventing covid-19 and, in particular, preventing people from entering the hospital or dying. These vaccines have really proven their efficacy and safety. “

Care goes on

According to the expert’s advice, the established measures must be maintained:

-Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.

-Keep 6 feet or 2 meters away from other people who do not live with you.

-Get a covid-19 vaccine when it is available to you.

-Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

-Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

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