WHO official says attempts to reach herd immunity naturally 'dangerous'
At least two-thirds of a population needs to develop the immunity for it to matter, and that, in turn, needs the vaccine to happen safely and effectively, the health official said.
GENEVA: Attempts to reach herd immunity naturally would be dangerous and fraught with scores of deaths, while vaccination is a safer and more effective path, Maria van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 technical lead at the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Thursday.
"What we are working towards ... is to have a safe and effective vaccine that can provide protection to a large proportion of the population so the virus doesn't have an opportunity to transmit. But trying to reach herd immunity naturally would be very dangerous because a lot of people would die," Van Kerkhove told a virtual press briefing.
At least two-thirds of a population needs to develop the immunity for it to matter, and that, in turn, needs the vaccine to happen safely and effectively, according to the health official.
"You would need probably about 65 to 70 - in that range - per cent of the population to have protected immunity. So to get to that level across the world, across all populations, urban and rural, and age groups, one can do it more safely and efficiently through a vaccine," Van Kerkhove said.