The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

People with one vaccine dose have enough protection to be considered part of herd immunity - Gauci

Friday, 7 May 2021, 14:45 Last update: about 2 months ago

Those who have received just one dose out of two of the Covid-19 vaccines are also being considered as part of the percentage required to reach herd immunity against the virus.

Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said on Friday, after being asked by The Malta Independent, that because one dose of any of the double-dose vaccines still offers a substantial immunity against the virus, then a person who has received just one dose can be considered as part of Malta’s calculations towards herd immunity.


Three – Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – out of the four vaccines approved for use require two doses to reach full immunity against the virus. 

Only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which started to be administered on Thursday, needs a single dose for one to develop full immunity.

However, the three double-dose vaccines still offer significant immunity after one dose.  A study in Israel on the effects of the Pfizer vaccine rollout published this week showed the effects that a single jab has.

A single dose of the jab was associated with 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospital admission, and 77% against death, the research published in The Lancet suggests.

That immunity increases to 96.5% protection against infection, 98% protection against hospital admissions and 98.1% protection against death, for those over 16 years of age from 14 days after the second dose, according to the same study.

Protection for the elderly was almost as strong, with those over 85 getting 94.1% protection against infection, 96.9% against hospital admission, and 97% against death, a week after receiving their second dose.

Herd immunity is the target that every country on the planet is aiming towards.

The concept of herd immunity is that when a high enough proportion of the population is vaccinated against a disease, or has been infected with a disease and developed antibodies against it, any one infected person will have the opportunity to infect less than one other susceptible person, hence halting the virus’ spread.

Malta has administered a total of 365,902 doses of the vaccine – with over 13,000 doses being administered in the last two days after the vaccination programme was extended to those between 30 and 39 years of age.

251,787 people have received at least one doses of the vaccine, while 115,333 are now fully vaccinated.

The number of people who have received at least one dose is 48.9% of Malta’s whole population of 514,564 (as per the NSO’s most recent publication on the country’s population).

It also equates to just over 58% of the country’s adult population.

The figure required for herd immunity is generally taken to be around 70% of the general population.

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