Herd immunity ‘a numbers game’

Caption: Professor Stephen Turner, Head of Department of Microbiology, Co-Head Infection and Immunity Program, Co-Head Monash BDI’s COVID-19 Program

A podcast on radio 2HD heard Monash BDI’s Professor Stephen Turner explain why the ChAdOx1 vaccine (the Oxford University vaccine candidate) may prove a viable way of countering COVID-19. The station’s Brent Bultitude quizzed Professor Turner on how the vaccine works, its side-effects, its advantages and herd immunity in Australia. Professor Turner agreed with Australian Government figures that you’d need around 95% of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity because a vaccine could not be expected to be effective for all people. “Even in a best case scenario, to say it’s 60 to 70% effective that means we’d need higher vaccination rates to give a level of immunity that will stop the transmission of the virus,” he said. “So it’s really a numbers game. The more people that you get vaccinated . . . the sooner we can get back to some sense of normalcy in terms of living our lives the way we did before.”