India will attain herd immunity with respect to COVID-19 pandemic no sooner than February 2023, according to a research report by Airfinity.
Research by the London-based science analytics company shows that the UK, US, and Canada will be the first to achieve population immunity.
According to Airfinity's forecasts, the US and Canada are expected to attain herd immunity by the second quarter of the calendar year of 2021, while Japan in Asia is likely to do so in April 2022.
To come out with estimates for its immunity forecasts, Airfinity looked at the expected vaccine production with time, as well as the location of production and the subsequent supply deals to each country. While the former parameter was risk-adjusted based on targets not being met, the latter was risk-adjusted based on cold storage requirements, clarified Matt Linley, senior life science analyst at Airfinity. The estimates take into account that domestic production will likely go to the host country first, he added.
Along with logistical parameters, Airfinity also assessed factors such as data on vaccine efficacy, predicting the phase III results for vaccine candidates based on their trial forecast models.
While India is expected to be the second-biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 with 2.75 billion doses, the US would still be ahead at 2.77 billion doses. For qualitative factors assessed in making the forecasts, it is India's lack of guidance on vaccine purchases, and of a coherent vaccination list that make the country one of the last to attain herd immunity, despite having been majorly involved in the production process.
In order to attain herd immunity and break the chain of transmission, the estimates indicate that at least 60% of each country's population must be vaccinated. However, the Health Ministry in India while declaring the different stages of vaccination, has suggested that vaccinations would only be provided to about 300 million people in the initial phase, accounting for about 23 per cent of India's population.
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