he UK is expected to pass the threshold for herd immunity by Monday, according to experts at University College London.
Dynamic modelling suggests that the number of people who are protected against Covid-19, either because they are naturally immune or have received a vaccine, will hit 73.4 per cent on April 12.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics last week – based on antibody testing – show that around 54 per cent had antibodies by March 14.
Since then, a further 7.1 million people have received a first jab, while nearly 100,000 more people have tested positive for Covid-19.
In addition to this around 10 per cent of the population is naturally immune, either through exposure to other coronaviruses or because they have T-cells, which would not be picked up in antibody testing.
Professor Karl Friston, from UCL, said: “The herd immunity estimates surprised me. However, they are unremarkable when one considers that over 50 per cent of adults have been vaccinated, around 42 per cent of people have now been exposed to the virus and about 10 per cent have pre-existing immunity.
“When factoring in the estimated efficacy of vaccination in terms of sterilising immunity, this – according to the model – means about 70 per cent of the population are immune.
“Based upon contact rates at the beginning of the pandemic and estimated transmission risk, this is nearly at the herd immunity threshold.”