17 May, 2020
8 Min Read
Aiming to achieve herd immunity naturally is ‘dangerous’, WHO warns
The World Health Organization has condemned the “dangerous” concept of herd immunity for managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme said it was wrong to think that countries can “magically” make their populations immune to novel coronavirus.
The concept of herd immunity is generally used for calculating how many people will need to be vaccinated in a population in order to protect those who are not vaccinated.
Natural infections in humans because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people, life and suffering at the centre of that equation.
It was mistakenly assumed that as this disease spreads across the world, only the severe cases become apparent while most people would indeed be infected as reflected in sero epidemiology results.
Greater proportion of people getting infected would mean that the pandemic will be over soon and people can go back to normal business.
The WHO director also warned about the dangerous assumption by countries that have had “lax measures and haven’t done anything [that they] will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity” by losing a few old people along the way. “This is a really dangerous calculation.
Durability of response
According to them, only well-designed longitudinal studies involving those who have recovered from COVID-19 for recurrent illness can help provide the much-needed information about reinfection and the duration of protection by the antibodies.
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