WHO warns of using ‘herd immunity’ to combat COVID-19 outbreak

WHO warns of using 'herd immunity' to combat COVID-19 outbreak

Geneva (UNA-OIC) – Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday warned of the dangers of using the principle of so-called “herd immunity” to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

“Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached,” Tedros told the WHO’s regular press briefing in Geneva.

But, he explained, it is achieved by protecting people from the virus, “not by exposing them to it”.

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak”, the WHO chief said, calling it “scientifically and ethically problematic”.

“Letting the virus circulate unchecked, therefore, means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death,” Tedros said, noting that in recent days, the world was seeing the most rapid rise in infections during the course of the whole pandemic, especially in Europe and the Americas.

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world, with about 37 million confirmed cases in 188 countries and more than one million deaths.

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