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Herd immunity is not going to happen



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,582 ✭✭✭✭ nacho libre

    Surely the problem with trying to reach herd immunity through infection is, especially with travel opening up, is that you allow new variants to emerge which may reduce the effectiveness of Vaccines. Of course Vaccines will then be updated to deal with such variants, but to truly see the end of this, i think we need to see good vaccinations rates in poorer countries.

    It is possible the virus might never truly go away, that it might mutate to something milder, but the very old and vunerable could be at risk in local outbreaks, but the virus won't be able to spread rapidly and risk hospitals being overwhelmed.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    That’s not true. Herd immunity never needs 100% and unvaccinated people can become immune if they get the virus other ways.

    if herd immunity is achieved then animal reservoirs don’t matter absent mutations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    You are missing the point. Any kind of natural immunity from exposure to covid/vaccine is not enough to prevent repeat infections & spread of covid.

    The virus can still spread, albeit at a slower rate, through an immunized population. Its looking like this may be the case, which if true means no "herd immunity" is possible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭ mloc123

    "People know me. I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,352 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    The vaccines are almost as effective (which was at a very very high starting point) against the variants as they were against the original strain, even the vaccine makers aren't sure if a "delta specific" vaccine will be needed. Why? The spike protein is pretty consistent among all variants and the vaccine targets the spike protein, the mutation would have to be fairly radical and beneficial for any vaccine escape to occur. Most of the (relatively small) efficacy and effectiveness drop is down to the higher transmissibility of the variant which, without vaccine, has a very high R0 compared to the original (relatively transmissible) virus.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yeh it is. You don’t seem to understand the math of herd immunity. It’s r-1/r. Depending on r that value can be low. It is slightly greater than 50% of the population, for an r value of 2. You can never get 100% from that equation so you never need 100% immune

    herd immunity has never meant full disappearance of a virus, it means that infections fall off as the average person infects less than one person. Breakouts can still occur.

    at the moment the British say that their r value is between 0.8 and 1.1. Which means they have achieved herd immunity or are close to it. This isn’t all about vaccination - the U.K. isn’t vaccinated enough, but a lot of people, particularly young people, have already been infected unknowingly.

    mutations might occur but then we have to boost flu vaccines every year, the endemic nature of the virus is not in doubt. Herd immunity in the summer doesn’t guarantee herd immunity in the winter - because the r value might increase. nevertheless herd immunity is possible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,578 ✭✭✭ spaceHopper

    The way I look at it we need two approaches, 

    Vaccine, its working look at the graph of Ireland, back in January with no vaccine we had 1000's of cases a day and they were growing exponentially, it took a lockdown ot stop it. Now we have between 1400 and 1900 cases, its growing but at a much slower rate. 

    Treatment, this is here some of the internet hostility and jumping on Dr's that suggest something different like new treatments isn't helping. We need better treatments so that where you can't take a vaccine or is simply didn't work we have better options to help you. 

    With both of these, eventually Covid-19 will become live a seasonal flue, if you need it or want it you get a shot for the variants that are out there at the end of each summer (or when ever) and you hopefully will be protected. Eventually it won't be problem.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    "Herd immunity is possible - just with all these qualifiers"

    Yeah, no. The UK still has some NPIs in place also to slow down the spread, which of course reduce the Reproductive value of the virus. But you cant base the herd immunity formula on the assumption that NPIs will remain indefinitely - otherwise we could say that last year we had "herd immunity" in Ireland because we had a certain % with natural immunity, and through lockdowns had reduced the R value to below 1. Which of course is not true

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,570 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan

    I wasn't advocating for trying to reach herd immunity through infection, but that may end up being the case. Some on this thread (and elsewhere) are hung up on vaccinated people still getting infected with and transmitting the virus. My point was that herd immunity via vaccination is largely irrelevant. If it can't happen then herd immunity can still be achieved via infection, although with most of the negative consequences significantly reduced due to vaccination. Vaccinated people getting and transmitting the virus makes this possible, I don't see how it is the negative some make it out to be.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    there are no qualifiers. I was explaining herd- immunity to you.

    lockdowns don’t mean herd immunity obviously, but that’s goal post shifting. The transmissions have been blocked but not by immunity.

    If the Re < 1 and it’s because of immunity then whether this immunity is from the vaccines or not herd immunity has been achieved. Lockdowns are over

    (I though you anti vaxxers were happy with freedom day?)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    No, the situation is more like putting a speed limiter in all cars at 100kmh because some people die when driving at 120kmh.

    For most of the population driving at 120 is totally safe, but because theres a miniscule risk of someone going out of control and crashing into another car, we have to impose drastic measures on everyone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    1 I'm not an anti-vaxxer

    2 Lockdowns, mask wearing, social distancing, contact tracing and antigen tests all lower the R0 of the virus too - so how can you say the UK has nearly achieved herd immunity when they still have contact tracing, testing, and mask wearing/distancing in plenty of areas still?

    You know "freedom day" wasnt a complete free for all back to 2019, there are still NPIs in place.

  • Natural immunity seems to be stronger than vaccine immunity and the data I’ve seen suggests that reinfection is rare. The likely scenario (IMO) based on current variants is that vaccination acts as a protection against the virulence of Covid-19 in those who choose to take it, and SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread, thereby conferring whole virus natural immunity in vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. Since reinfections are rare and milder, people will then get a cold-like disease when they contract it in future, and it will imperil a very small number of very vulnerable people in much the same way that any respiratory virus currently can.

    The vast majority of current children and teens will contract it (again, vaccinated or not) and recover with stronger immunity long before they get to an age that makes them vulnerable.

    One interesting thing will be to see whether, in light of confirmation that vaccinated people can contract, carry and spread the virus, and will be less likely to get sick and therefore realise they are walking disease merchants, the government will continue to permit them to mingle freely and avoid testing and isolation upon entering the country. Seems like a bad plan.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,788 ✭✭✭ Former Former Former

    Not really. In the case of Covid, the risk is not miniscule.

    To torture your analogy a bit more, you can easily spot the guy driving at 120 kmh when he shouldn't be.

    You cannot spot someone who is unvaccinated, or an asymptomatic carrier, and you can't really spot those people who are at risk of breakthrough infection or serious illness. So being against vaccination is like a guy driving at 120 kmh down a residential street, then the rest of us shrugging when he runs over a few kids and saying "sure what can you do?"

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,352 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    Is it yourself that keeps posting this on various threads? I think the whole natural immunity being better than vaccines has been debunked multiple times at this stage. Natural immunity will vary depending on viral load and the severity with which it effects the individual, the vaccines will give a fairly consistent immunity (for people with a comparable immune system).

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The vaccines alone will not lead to herd immunity. Pfizer have stated recently that we need antivirals as well as the vaccines.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,568 ✭✭✭ brickster69

    The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.

    Camille Paglia

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    Original antigenic sin would mean that (assuming natural immunity > vaccine immunity), people vaccinated and then infected will still have a less robust antibody response than those with natural immunity.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    That is the worst analogy I've ever heard!

    The other thing is that you assume vaccinated people cant carry the disease which is false - they can and do, data exists to back it up. Vaccinated case clusters are a real thing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,899 ✭✭✭ Flinty997

    Its more like people without a full license have restrictions put on them. Like not allowed on motorways. Other people have other restriction of 120kmh. Some vehicles are not allowed motorways and some others are speed restricted. There are other roads with a variety of limits.

    If you want to go down the route of dubious analogies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,352 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    And just to back it up, here's a US study (among many) showing recovered individuals being twice as likely to be re-infected as vaccinated individuals:

    Reduced Risk of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Vaccination — Kentucky, May–June 2021 | MMWR (

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,788 ✭✭✭ Former Former Former

    Your analogy man...

    I don't know why you think I've assumed anything. Vaccinated people can carry the disease, but the risk of them doing so is much reduced. More vaccinated people = less risk of transmission = less people getting sick = quicker return to normality. It's all about probability, not an absolute black and white situation.

    It's that simple. Everyone should get vaccinated and I find it immensely satisfying seeing the vaccine stats every day, knowing that anti-vax nonsense like yours is not getting any traction here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,352 ✭✭✭✭ astrofool

    You're of course leaving out that vaccinated individuals both clear the viral load faster and are up to 80% less transmissible than unvaccinated individuals?

    Given that the vaccinated group at the moment will be older and have a weaker immune system on average, this is pretty impressive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,788 ✭✭✭ Former Former Former

    "assuming natural immunity > vaccine immunity"

    It's not.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,899 ✭✭✭ Flinty997

    This is data out of context. This is all people hospitalized.

    If about 10% of their population is unvaccinated vs 90% vaccinated.

    This means there are vastly more of that 10% being hospitalized than there are in rest the 90% combined.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    That was in response to another poster who claimed it was

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    Yet again - I'm not an anti-vaxxer. it seems like they live rent-free in your head though.

    And someone driving 120kmh down a residential street and running over children while everyone shrugs? That was your analogy

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ timmyntc