Herd Immunity to Address Coronavirus Unethical, Says World Health Organization

Some have proposed that herd immunity might be the solution in putting an end to the spread of Covid-19, especially now that no vaccine has passed international approval yet. The idea is to allow the virus to spread naturally since there is still no cure for the disease. In a virtual news conference on Monday, WHO Head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that this concept is “scientifically and ethically problematic”. He also emphasized that the long term impact of the Coronavirus is still unknown.

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BBC News: “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” says WHO Chief

Screenshot from BBC News

The concept of herd immunity happens when a large portion of the population develops immunity from a disease through vaccination or through a massive spread of a disease. This idea was proposed to stem the Coronavirus pandemic due to the absence of a vaccine.

This approach is believed to be “scientifically and ethically problematic”, says WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.

BBC News shares that during the news conference on Monday, Chief Tedros argued that the long-term impacts of coronavirus – as well as the strength and duration any immune response – remained unknown.

The also mentioned that “never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. Letting Covid-19 circulate unchecked therefore means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death.”