Global herd immunity with COVID-19 vaccines will take 2-3 years: Chinese top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan - Global Times

China's top respiratory disease specialist, Zhong Nanshan

China's top respiratory disease specialist, Zhong Nanshan

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(May 13): Achieving global herd immunity against COVID-19 through mass vaccination will take two to three years, said China's top respiratory disease specialist, Zhong Nanshan, Global Times reported.

Zhong made the remarks at a conference of the Science Council of Asia held in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province on Thursday, during which he made a speech about China's COVID-19 prevention and control strategy and vaccine development and shared his views about reaching herd immunity against COVID-19 around the world. 

One way to achieve herd immunity is through natural infection (infection without interference), which means 70-80% of people infected and 5% of people die globally, which would be "unrealistic, unscientific and inhumane," he said. 

Mass vaccination is another way to achieve herd immunity and would require global coordination over a period of two to three years, he said. 

The epidemiologist presented a set of research data on how high vaccination rates should be in different parts of the world in order to achieve herd immunity. 

If vaccine efficacy is 70 percent, then for China, the vaccination rate should reach 83.3 percent of the population, whereas around the world, the rate should be 89.2 percent. 

For Asia and Europe, the rates should reach 80.2 and 96.2, respectively, Global Times reported.