Coronavirus India Live Updates: Herd immunity or Covid-19 vaccines?
Once again, the debate over herd immunity has surfaced. This time, it was triggered by three well-known scientists — Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, and Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University — who released a declaration, expressing “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing Covid19 policies” of governments across the world, and recommended an approach called “Focussed Protection” based on the concept of herd immunity.
Herd immunity is when a sufficiently large proportion of the population is infected with a virus and generate natural immunity against the disease.
This declaration has garnered signatures of nearly 9,000 medical and public health scientists, and over 22,000 medical practitioners apart from close to four lakh other people.
In the wake of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a statement saying herd immunity is “scientifically and ethically problematic”. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference, “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic.”
Ghebreyesus said the right way to reach herd immunity was by vaccinating more and more people.