Herd immunity a ‘mythical’ goal that can't be reached, says Oxford vaccine head 11 months ago

Herd immunity a ‘mythical’ goal that can't be reached, says Oxford vaccine head

Herd Immunity is not the answer

According to the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Sir Andrew Pollard, Herd immunity “is not a possibility” because the delta variant can spread among vaccinated individuals. Pollard spoke in the House of Commons to set the record straight on herd immunity.


“This virus is not measles – if you have 95 per cent of people vaccinated against measles, the virus cannot transmit in the population,” said Sir Andrew. “But we know very clearly with the coronavirus that the delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated, and that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus.”


His comments fall in line with other experts', and data from studies that are currently being conducted. A study published last week illustrates a worrying future. It tells us that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can still transmit Covid. However, studies have also shown that inoculated people transmit the virus at a drastically lower rate.

“Even if viral load may be the same, vaccinated people who become infected are less likely to be infectious than unvaccinated because vaccines reduce virus shedding time, symptomatic infection, and the presence of immune response will suppress the viable virus,” said Dr Muge Cevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and virology at St Andrew's University.

Francois Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, also said: “It is not so much anymore a ‘duty to others’ to get vaccinated but a protection for oneself. There won’t be any ‘herd immunity wall’ to hide behind.

“There is an important fraction of the population who for all sorts of reasons are immunocompromised. “For the vast majority of them, they still benefit from being vaccinated. Some won’t. Widespread vaccination reduces the risk of exposure to them, but only very marginally so.”


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