A team of experts from Umea University in northeast Sweden has come up with a new study that has shown that people who are not vaccinated are at a lower risk of contracting COVID19 if their family members have some sort of protection against the disease. The authors of the study have found that COVID19 shots do not just protect people who have taken the vaccines but other people who are around them as well. The study has found that an unvaccinated person who is living in a family of five members where four members either have been vaccinated or have natural immunity via prior infection is at a 97 percent lower risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study has shown that there is a direct correlation between the share of family members who are vaccinated and a reduced risk of COVID19 infection.
Experts have said that four immune people in the family can easily reduce the risk of COVID19 for an unvaccinated person in the family by more than 97 percent. On the other hand, the risk of being diagnosed with COVID19 shoots up as fewer people in the family are vaccinated. A professor of geriatric medicine from Umea University, Dr. Nordstrom has said that the findings of the new study show that COVID19 shots are crucial not only for individual immunity but they are vital for reducing the spread of the virus as well. He has said that vaccination is quite vital especially in a family setting where the virus can spread more easily and rapidly. The findings of the study have been released in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The authors of the study have collected the data of 1.7 million people living across 814806 family units in Sweden. They have said that each family has been made up of two to five people. With the help of infection and vaccination records, experts have been able to find out how many people in each family have some sort of protection via natural infection or COVID19 shots. All families that have been enrolled in the study have had at least one member who has not been found with any immunity against the disease. Heath experts who have been involved in the study have calculated the odds of contracting COVID19 among these unimmunized people in the families.
The study has found that unimmunized people from families of five members where four members have some immunity are at much lower risk of being infected with the virus. Experts have said that having three immune members in a four or five-member family can reduce the risk of catching COVID19 by 90 percent for the person who has not taken the shots or has no natural protection. If two members of a household are immune to the disease, it will reduce the risk of COVID19 by 75 percent for the unimmunized person. If only one person in a household has some protection against the virus, it will cut down the risk of catching COVID19 by 50 percent for unvaccinated people in the family.
Health experts have said that the findings of the study support the concept of herd immunity that is widely accepted in medical science. The study has shown that a blend of immunity from COVID19 shots and natural immunity from the past disease can avert the disease among non-immune people as well. The co-author of the study, Dr. Marcel Ballin has said that COVID19 vaccines not only have the ability to prevent people from falling severely ill but they also reduce the risk of the emergence of new variants that can change the course of the pandemic. Experts have said that getting more and more people vaccinated can have a major impact on a global, national, and local level. The herd immunity against COVID19 can be achieved when at least 80 percent of people are immune to the disease. It means nearly four out of every five people should be immune.
Health experts have said that due to the rise of the delta variant and the possibility of even more deadly variants coming up, the mark of herd immunity might go even higher. As per the data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 65.9 percent of people in the US have taken at least one dose of a COVID19 shot. On the other hand, around 54.9 percent of the people have been fully immunized against the disease. Health experts have claimed that with more than 44 million people getting infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus since the COVID19 pandemic has hit the country, the United States seems to be more closer to achieve herd immunity. However, many studies have revealed that antibodies derived from natural infection last only for seven months. That is the reason; health officials have been motivating people to get the shots as soon as they recover from COVID19 infection.