Achieving herd immunity in South America.


South America, once an epicenter of COVID-19, has stayed on the road of continued management of the pandemic. The region initially struggled to cope with the pandemic as it experienced spiraling numbers of infections and overwhelmed public health systems. South America has risen in its pandemic response to be the region with the highest global vaccination rate. The region posed a strong vaccination drive, with over 76% of its population fully vaccinated with the initial protocol. South America leveraged its deeply rooted vaccination culture and public health confidence among its population. Herd immunity is an integral concept in population infectious disease management. Attaining herd immunity is presently not feasible with available vaccines, but the high vaccination rate in the region depicts the acceptance of vaccination as a strategy for population protection. The availability of effective transmission-blocking vaccines, the continuous implementation of strategies that will enable the undisrupted supply of the vaccines, equity in access to the vaccines, improved vaccine acceptance, and trust in the vaccination and public health systems will help shepherd the region towards herd immunity. Local vaccine production backed with investment in infrastructure and international collaboration for research and knowledge development will also drive population safety.





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Publication Info

Lucero-Prisno, Don Eliseo, Deborah Oluwaseun Shomuyiwa, Creuza Rachel Vicente, María José González Méndez, Shohra Qaderi, Jaifred Christian Lopez, Yidnekachew Girma Mogessie, Jason Alacapa, et al. (2023). Achieving herd immunity in South America. Global health research and policy, 8(1). p. 2. 10.1186/s41256-023-00286-2 Retrieved from

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Jaifred (Jim) Lopez


Jaifred Christian Lopez, or Jim, is a doctoral student at the Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University. He is a clinically trained physician (licensed in the Philippines) with a master’s in public management. He now focuses on health systems research.

He is currently involved in projects related to health systems innovation within the US Veterans Health Administration, and in the global health context (through ongoing collaborations with colleagues based in the Philippines and other countries). He has been published in local and international journals and has been featured in print and mass media in the Philippines and internationally.

At Duke, he is a scholar of the Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE) program, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion in biomedical and health sciences research. He is a founding member of the board of trustees of the Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians, Inc., founding member of the Young Physician Leaders (YPL) Alumni Steering Committee, which gathers graduates of the InterAcademy Partnership's YPL Programme, and a founding trustee of Tambalista, Inc., which aims to advance nature-based products research in the Philippines through academe-industry partnerships.


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