With 56% of citizens vaccinated and another 15% recovered, Israel may be the first country where people who are immune protect those who aren’t.
Israel may have reached herd immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, say experts from its largest hospital, Sheba Medical Center.
Herd immunity happens when a sufficient percentage of a population has immunity – through vaccination or having recovered from the disease — and gives indirect protection to those who aren’t immune.
The immunity level needed for herd immunity is calculated based on the transmission rate of the virus. For SARS-CoV-2 it’s estimated at 65-70 percent, says Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of Sheba’s Institute for Travel & Tropical Medicine.
Approximately 56% of Israel’s 9.2 million citizens are vaccinated and another 15% (approximately 700,000 people) recovered from Covid-19, putting Israel comfortably in the expected herd immunity range.
“We’re seeing a decline in the number of cases now despite the return to mass gatherings and schools following the third lockdown, because most of the people the infected person will meet are immune by now,” Leshem tells ISRAEL21c.
“Compared with the last two lockdowns, after which we saw an increase in cases, we see a decline even after lockdown.”