Good Hygiene Practice Has Shown its Power on Coronavirus Prevention4
HSVG misson P.O. Box 206, Hagatna, GU 96932, USA
(January 21, 2021)Herd Immunity May Not the Goal COVID Vaccination Should PursueAfter COVID vaccines were finally available, some officials and experts started worrying about the percentage of people getting vaccinated. Their concerns are mainly related to herd immunity that most previous vaccination programs tried to achieve. However, COVID vaccination may need to pursue a different public health objective.According to the University of Oxford Vaccine Knowledge Project, when a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, it is difficult for infectious diseases to spread, because there are not many people who can be infected. For example, if someone with measles is surrounded by people who are vaccinated against measles, the disease cannot easily be passed on to anyone, and it will quickly disappear. This is called herd immunity.The governments that are distributing and administering COVID vaccines have to notice that herd immunity is not the only model to eradicate an pandemic. For example, the WHO (World Health Organization) was able to declare an end to the global 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic on August 10, 2010, although, according to the report released by the US CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the overall vaccination coverage in the US was only 27%.The novel influenza A (H1N1) virus was identified in April 2009. On September 15 that year, four vaccine manufacturers received approval from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use of the specific monovalent (H1N1) pdm09 vaccine in the prevention of influenza caused by the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus. Since the pandemic was associated with a threefold higher level of hospitalizations and deaths among people aged less than 65 compared with previous influenza seasons, the vaccination program prioritized five target groups – pregnant women, people who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months, health–care and emergency medical services personnel, children and young adults aged 6 months to 24 years, and people aged 25 to 64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza–related complications.The US CDC’s report showed that, from October 2009 through May 2010, there were 34.2% of people in the target groups getting vaccinated. Among people of non-target groups, the vaccination coverage for people aged 25 to 64 was 16.7% and for those aged over 65, 28.8%.In fact, in the University of Oxford’s press release regarding its COVID vaccine’s emergency use authorization, they mentioned the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will “publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive this vaccine, with this announcement indicating that the JCVI has advised the priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection, and everyone will still receive their second dose within 12 weeks of their first, an approach the JCVI believes will maximise the benefits of this vaccine, ensuring at-risk people are able to get meaningful protection and ease the pressure on the UK National Health Service.” They did not address herd immunity.Therefore, taking care of the at-risk people, once again, ought to be the main task after the COVID vaccines became available, instead of paying too much attention to the overall vaccination coverage rate and arguing with the anti-vaxxers. Once fewer at-risk people develop severe illness and hospitals are no longer overwhelmed, the whole world will see the light at the end of the tunnel.The COVID vaccines’ effectiveness data supporting the emergency use authorization actually show that vaccines are significantly effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease and severe illness among the clinical trial participants. Every regulatory body also reminds that data are not available to make a determination about how long the vaccine will provide protection, nor is there evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission of the coronavirus from person to person. It implies the most relevant goal of COVID vaccination for now should be to protect at-risk groups from sickness, instead of pursuing herd immunity.Since COVID’s highly contagious nature, it could be very difficult to achieve a containment goal and mitigation might be a better mindset to respond to the pandemic. Many countries had paid the price for inappropriate response strategies last year. Several conceptual errors are still keeping many governments trapped in this public health crisis. While COVID vaccines are finally available, governments of main countries really need to use vaccines as a powerful tool and do their best to convince and help at-risk people getting vaccination to bring the whole world to get through the pandemic as soon as possible. http://www.hsvg.org/hot_380070.html Herd Immunity May Not the Goal COVID Vaccination Should Pursue 2021-01-21 2022-01-21
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February 7, 2020

Good Hygiene Practice Has Shown its Power on Coronavirus Prevention

While more import and domestic cases were reported in different countries around the world, public health experts got the chance to learn more about the coronavirus that causes an outbreak of pneumonia-like disease, and predict the epidemic.

So far, the majority of infected people outside China have very mild symptoms. What they are experiencing is an illness similar to flu. That means the virus can do human to human transmission, but it does not always cause severe illness and lead to death everywhere.

Germany’s first four domestic cases gave the world the best example. Bavaria health officials said on January 28 that the first case had contracted the disease from a Chinese colleague who had visited the area for a company workshop a week ago. Another three patients were "connected" to the first case. Four cases work together in the company and their illness was very mild.

The most dangerous place is Wuhan city in China, where the virus originated. That is why Japan’s charter flight has evacuated its citizens who work or live in Wuhan. Many other China’s cities and villages are affected as well because people were moving around for their lunar new year plan before some places got locked down by Chinese government for outbreak control purposes. That is why Palau only blocks flights from China and does not block other countries.

The reason why China’s epidemic looks much more serious than the rest of the world, for example, the virus led to more death in China, might be related to certain personal hygiene issues, poor performance of outbreak response system and insufficient medical support in many rural areas. However, Chinese government has been making a lot of efforts to control the epidemic, including the lockdown of the seriously affected areas, suspension of outbound tour group and so on, so we believes it is very likely that China would see a trend of calming down in one or two weeks.

Regarding China's epidemic control measures, we want to remind Chinese government to take good care of people's medical needs and human rights especially in the lockdown areas. We also think it is the best time that Chinese government encourages its citizens to practice better personal hygiene from now on to enhance disease prevention and public health in the country.

It is worth to notice that Taiwan has not reported any domestic case for a week since the government confirmed the second one on January 30, although there are still import cases reported. We believe it means that Taiwan people's good personal hygiene practice in the past several weeks, for example, wearing a mask and washing hands more often, has shown its power of blocking the transmission of the virus in the community. We suggest that other governments, for example, Hong Kong. Macau, Japan, Thailand and Singapore, should promote good personal hygiene harder to avoid the coronavirus spread among its citizens and visitors.