Mexico’s Path Towards Herd ImmunityBy Rodrigo Brugada | Mon, 05/24/2021 - 19:10
The Deputy Minister of Health Prevention and Promotion Hugo López-Gatell announced on a Tuesday press release that Mexico is on its way to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. By his estimations, this social protection could come as early as August.
The CDC defines community immunity, another way of referring to herd immunity, as “A situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. Even individuals not vaccinated (such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.” In other words, herd immunity happens when enough individuals have immunity to cut the chain of transmission and protect those without immunity.
López-Gatell said that Mexico needs to reach about 75 percent of immune individuals to achieve this protection. And, while the optimal way of getting this immunity is through vaccination, immunity can be achieved as long as neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus exist in an individual.
Mexico is currently experiencing a sustained downward trend in new infections for several reasons. While Mexico will probably begin June with almost 15 percent of its population having received at least one dose of the vaccine, it remains unclear just how many Mexicans have had the disease. And, more importantly, how many people have developed antibodies and a degree of immunity.
For his part, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated that Mexico aims to ensure that the entirety of its population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October. He noted that this would be beneficial because the population would be at least partially immune before the onset of colder weather. In terms of the population vaccinated, Mexico has administered nearly 21 vaccine doses per every 100 individuals. This means that, when scaled to Mexico’s population of around 126 million, there have been almost 26.5 million doses administered. Now, President López Obrador said more doses are on their way.
Over the next month and a half, the pace should accelerate as millions of new doses are scheduled to arrive. Mexico has negotiated for the US to send more doses and has several agreements for bringing production home and to make Mexico part of the supply chain. President López Obrador initially stated that the country could potentially conclude its vaccination rollout before the winter. Still, his alleged priority is to have administered at least one shot to everyone by October.
Most of the country is easing measures and projections foresee a prolonged decrease in disease spread. Mexico might be well on its way towards achieving not only herd immunity but towards taking its first steps towards the “new normal.”