Given the size of India’s population, herd immunity “cannot be a strategic choice or option”, the health ministry said on Thursday as it urged people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour till a vaccine is developed.
At a press briefing, when asked whether India was approaching herd immunity against the coronavirus infection, Officer on Special Duty in the Health Ministry Rajesh Bhushan replied that herd immunity is a kind of indirect protection from an infectious disease like COVID-19.
It happens only when a population becomes immune either through vaccination or immunity is developed through a previous infection, he said.
“In a country with the size of the population like India, herd immunity cannot be a strategic choice or option. It can only be an outcome, and that too at a very high cost as it means lakhs of people would have to be infected, get hospitalised and many would die in the process,” Bhushan said.
He said herd immunity can be achieved through immunisation but that is in the future.