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Boyeong Ryu 1 Article
Herd immunity: challenges and the way forward in Korea
Jiyoung Oh, Sohyun Kim, Boyeong Ryu, Minjoung Shin, Bryan Inho Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2021;43:e2021054.   Published online August 18, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2021054
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  • 1 Citations
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
Vaccination is considered to be the most effective measure for preventing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Many countries, including of Korea, are focusing on achieving herd immunity with the goal of reaching a vaccination rate of 70-80%. However, achieving herd immunity does not mean eradicating COVID-19, and the following challenges can occur in the process of achieving herd immunity. First, as the vaccination rate is likely to slow down over time, it is necessary to promote the benefits of vaccination through risk communication strategies and provide incentives for those who have been vaccinated. Second, a booster dose may be required depending on future studies on vaccine-induced immunity. Third, since variants capable of evading immunity and with higher transmissibility can emerge, rapid contract tracing and regular community genomic surveillance could help mitigate the impact of new variants. When the impact of COVID-19 is controlled to the level of seasonal influenza, the current public health measures that have been strictly imposed on society since the beginning of the pandemic will no longer be needed. The overall response strategy to COVID-19 will need to change accordingly, based on evaluations of the level of population immunity. These changes will include more efficient and targeted contact tracing and eased quarantine measures for vaccinated close contacts and travelers. Mask wearing and a minimum of social distancing will still be required in the journey towards the end of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic will end, but the virus will not disappear.
Summary
Korean summary
한국을 포함한 많은 국가에서 예방접종률 70~80% 달성을 목표로 집단면역을 달성하는데 집중하고 있으나, 집단면역 달성은 코로나19 퇴치를 의미하지 않으며, 집단면역을 달성해 나가는 과정에서 여러 어려움이 발생할 수 있다. 코로나19의 전반적인 영향력이 계절성 인플루엔자와 같은 관리가능한 수준으로 낮아진다면 현재의 코로나19 대응조치들은 인구집단의 면역 수준을 고려하여 점차 완화될 것이지만 마스크 착용과 최소한의 사회적 거리두기는 당분간 지속될 것이며, 코로나19 대유행이 끝나더라도 바이러스는 사라지지 않을 것이다.
Key Message
Achieving herd immunity does not mean eradicating COVID-19, and some challenges can occur in the process of achieving herd immunity. When the impact of COVID-19 is controlled to the level of seasonal influenza, the current public health measures that have been strictly imposed on society since the beginning of the pandemic will no longer be needed. The overall response strategy to COVID-19 will need to change accordingly, based on evaluations of the level of population immunity. However, mask wearing and a minimum of social distancing will still be required in the journey towards the end of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic will end, but the virus will not disappear.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • What Happens to the Immune System after Vaccination or Recovery from COVID-19?
    Bruna T. Tiyo, Gabriela J. H. Schmitz, Marina M. Ortega, Laís T. da Silva, Alexandre de Almeida, Telma M. Oshiro, Alberto J. da S. Duarte
    Life.2021; 11(11): 1152.     CrossRef

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