As of 27/28 July 2021

  1. Malta: 84.7
  2. Spain: 56.5
  3. Hungary: 56.1
  4. UK: 55.4
  5. Belgium: 55.0
  6. Ireland: 54.4
  7. Portugal: 54.0
  8. Denmark: 52.8
  9. Germany: 50.6
  10. Netherlands: 50.5
  11. Italy: 50.4
  12. Cyprus: 50.2
  13. Austria: 49.7
  14. Greece: 47.9
  15. Luxembourg: 47.8
  16. Poland: 45.5
  17. France: 45.3
  18. Lithuania: 45.1
  19. Czech Republic: 44.2
  20. Sweden: 40.3
  21. Slovenia: 38.4
  22. Estonia: 37
  23. Latvia: 35.8
  24. Slovakia: 35.6
  25. Croatia: 34.2
  26. Finland: 32.4
  27. Romania: 25.1
  28. Bulgaria: 14.2


Many scientists had thought that once people started being immunized en masse, herd immunity would permit society to return to normal. Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60–70% of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift. Reaching a herd-immunity threshold is looking unlikely because of factors such as vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants. The key to herd immunity is that, even if a person becomes infected, there are too few susceptible hosts around to maintain transmission — those who have been vaccinated or have already had the infection cannot contract and spread the virus. It is still unclear whether they protect people from becoming infected, or from spreading the virus to others. That poses a problem for herd immunity. Herd immunity is only relevant if  there is a transmission-blocking vaccine. If we don’t have one, the only way to get herd immunity in the population is to give everyone the vaccine. Vaccine effectiveness for halting transmission needs to be very high for herd immunity to matter. The herd-immunity threshold is “not a ‘we’re safe’ threshold, it’s a ‘we’re safer’ threshold”. Even after the threshold has been passed, isolated outbreaks will still occur. Given what is known about COVID-19 so far, reaching herd immunity through vaccines alone is going to be rather unlikely. It’s time for more realistic expectations. The vaccine is unlikely to completely halt the spread, so we need to think of how we can live with the virus . Even without herd immunity, the ability to vaccinate vulnerable people seems to be reducing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The disease might not disappear any time soon, but its prominence is likely to wane.


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