Europe can achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus within the next four months, the head of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech SE said April 28.
Europe can achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus within the next four months, the head of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech SE said on April 28. While the desired threshold to reach a critical level of immunization remains a matter of debate, experts have said that inoculating at least 70 per cent of the crowd could significantly disrupt COVID-19 transmission. “Europe will reach herd immunity in July, latest by August,” Ugur Sahin, BioNTech”s chief executive, told reporters. As of now, only Israel has successfully vaccinated ‘most of its adults’ and is now ‘unmasking’ the country gradually.
The third dose
However, Sahin pointed out that there could be a requirement of a third dose as the immune response weakens over time. Citing previous research, he highlighted that the efficacy of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine itself reduced from 95 per cent to about 91 per cent after six months. Therefore, he said, a third shot was required to bolster the immune response to 100 per cent.
Vaccine recipients currently receive a second dose three weeks after their first shot, although some countries have longer intervals. Sahin suggested the third should be administered nine to 12 months after the first shot. “And then I expect it will probably be necessary to get another booster every year or perhaps every 18 months,” he said highlighting that COVID-19 vaccination could become a permanent part of people’s medical routine, at least for a few years.
Questioned about his BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine’s response against new, more lethal mutations discovered, Sahin said that jabs trigger a good response against over 30 variants of coronavirus. He explained that BioNTech has tested its vaccine against more than 30 variants, including the now-dominant one first detected in Britain, and found the shot triggers a good immune response against almost all of them in the lab. In cases where the immune response was weaker, it remained sufficient, he said, without providing exact figures. Talking about the Indian variant of COVID-19, he said that the company was still investigating the vaccine’s effectiveness against the mutation, but he personally remains “confident there too.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first vaccine to gain global approval. Starting UK and US over 45 countries have given a green light to the jabs.
News source: republic