Unvaccinated people have an up to 97% reduced risk of contracting COVID-19 as more of their family members gain immunity through vaccination or infection, study finds 

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  • A new study has found that vaccinating people in a person’s family can significantly reduce the chances of contracting Covid.
  • Researchers found that four out of five members of a family have some form of immunity, reducing the chance of infection by up to 97%.
  • Three vaccination members can reduce the risk by 90%, two by 75% and one member can halve the risk
  • Some experts believe that about 80% of the population needs some form of immunity to the virus to reach herd immunity.

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A new study suggests that unvaccinated people are less likely to get COVID-19 if their family members have some form of immunity against the virus.

Researchers from Ume University in north-east Sweden found that COVID vaccines protect not only those who have received the shot, but others around them as well.


If a non-vaccinated person within a five-person family unit — with the other four members having either received the jab or acquired natural immunity through infection — their risk of contracting the virus was reduced by 97 percent. .

There was also a direct association between the share of family members who were vaccinated and a lower risk of infection.

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Living in a family where many people have immunity to the virus reduces the risk of catching the virus for non-immune people. Researchers found that people with four immunity in a family of five reduced the risk for another person by 97% (bottom right). The risk of infection increases due to the laughter of fewer people in the family

Experts agree that herd immunity targets 80% of the population with immunity to the virus, although emerging strains of the virus may set that number higher.  Image: A man in Stockholm, Sweden receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021

Experts agree that herd immunity targets 80% of the population with immunity to the virus, although emerging strains of the virus may set that number higher. Image: A man in Stockholm, Sweden receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021

Peter Nordstrom, Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Ume University, said: “The results strongly suggest that vaccination is important not only for individual protection, but also for reducing transmission, particularly within families, which is a major risk factor for transmission. It is a high-risk environment for a statement.

researchers who published their findings JAMA Internal Medicine On Monday, Sweden collected data from 1.7 million people spread across 814,806 family units.

Each family was made up of between two and five people.

The team used infection and vaccination data to determine how many people in each household had some sort of immunity to the virus – whether through natural antibodies from infection or from receiving the vaccine.

All the families involved in the study had at least one family member who did not have immunity, and the researchers calculated their chances of catching the Covid.

The researchers found that people from five-member families with four-member immunity were the most protected – the non-vaccinated person was 97 percent less likely to contract the virus than the average non-vaccinated person.

Having the immunity of three members of a four- or five-member family reduces the risk of infection by more than 90 percent even for an uninfected person.

Immunity to two members of a family reduces the risk of infection by at least 75 percent, and one immune person in the family reduces the risk by about 50 percent.

Herd immunity is a well-known concept, and researchers say the findings prove that the combination of protection from the COVID vaccine and natural antibodies can prevent infection even in non-immune people.

‘It appears that vaccination not only helps reduce a person’s risk of becoming infected, but also helps reduce transmission, which in turn not only reduces the risk that more people will become seriously ill. but also that new problematic forms emerge and begin to take over,’ said study co-author and doctoral student at Ume University, Marcel Ballin.

‘As a result, ensuring that many people are vaccinated has implications on a local, national and global level,’

Experts believe that traces of herd immunity to COVID may be around 80 percent of the population – or four out of every five people – are immunized.

The rise of the delta variant, and the potential for even more potent strains of the virus to be produced, could push the target mark. even higher.

Currently in the US, 65.3 percent of the population has received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 56.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

The US is potentially closer to herd immunity than the numbers tell, however, as more than 44 million people have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began last year.

Natural antibodies are found only for approx. seven months, and health officials still urge people who recover from the infection to get shots when they can.


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