Delta variant makes herd immunity harder: 90% of population vaccinated a must

Only 0.5% of fully vaccinated have been infected with covid-19

2 min
People wearing masks walking around Barcelona

BarcelonaOn May 10, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez claimed that Spain was "only 100 days away" from herd immunity, because by the end of the summer 70% of the population would have been vaccinated. The delta variant, which is much more transmissible and contagious than the previous ones, has forced the administrations to seek more protection: at least 85%-90% of the population will have to have been vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.

"The percentage of 70% is insufficient, we need higher protection," said the Secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, at a press conference. She said that although the percentage of 70% is a "classical figure for any disease" to achieve herd immunity, the delta variant is so contagious that this is not enough. "Nevertheless, the goal of the Health Dpt is to vaccinate the entire population of Catalonia," added Cabezas.

What is not yet known, however, is when it will be possible to reach the 90% mark. "It will depend on the number of vaccines we have," he said. At the moment, it is known that more doses of Moderna will arrive in August, which will have to be used to vaccinate all children and teenagers under 16.

Despite the fact that covid does not discriminate between vaccinated and unvaccinated people and that everyone can catch and transmit the virus, the data show that vaccines work and are "very effective" in reducing the number of infections, hospitalisations, critically ill patients and deaths from coronavirus. Thus, of the 3 million Catalans vaccinated, only 17,000 have been infected (0.5%), 875 have been hospitalised (28 out of every 100,000) and 78 have been admitted to the ICU. The vaccine also gives "very good protection," according to Cabezas, since only 26 cases have been detected of people who had had the disease, gpt vaccinated and then caught the disease a second time.

The delta variant already accounts for 88% of cases in Barcelona

Despite the fact that the Health Department has detected a slight improvement in the indicators, the population must continue to be very careful as hospitals are still under great pressure: the delta variant "has more viral load, more transmissibility and more efficiency in infecting cells". As explained by the head of the Microbiology Service of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Tomàs Pumarola, the delta variant already accounts for 88% of cases of covid-19 in Barcelona and is not only the predominant variant but is "displacing and eliminating other variants". This "extraordinarily dynamic" process of the new variants of the virus, in which only "the best adapted survive", opens the possibility that a variant appears "with a perfect combination of mutations" that allows it to escape vaccines. For the moment, however, vaccines protect against the delta variant, especially in cases of severity and hospitalisation.

Cabezas is surprised by the investigation into the head of Public Health of the Balearic Islands

During the press conference, the secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, wanted to express her "solidarity" towards her counterpart in the Balearic Islands, Maria Antònia Font, after an court in Palma has opened an investigation against her for an alleged crime of misfeasance and illegal detention for having ordered compulsory isolation for 270 young people in a covid hotel in Mallorca. "It was a measure to protect public health and prevent contagions of youngsters," Cabezas defended, who has also said that it is "strange" that these situations happen. "The only thing that was done was to establish the quarantine of these boys and girls to protect their health," she insisted. Font will have to appear in court to justify the measure.