Herd immunity ‘no longer an option’ in the fight against COVID-19

Coronavirus

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The conversation of herd immunity is returning while the U.S. waits for vaccines to come about to the public.

Herd immunity means 70 to 90 percent of individuals would have to become ill with the virus naturally and build up an immunity to it without the assistance of modulated viral material.  

Those in the medical community say that this is no longer an option in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as previously debated. An Epidemiologist with MUSC said the issue with Herd Immunity is simple.  

Dr. Michael Schmidt, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, said herd immunity can kill more people than necessary. This comes as we now have proven methods that effectively slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“The other way we can develop herd immunity is by getting sick,” Schmidt said, “and that’s not the desired way to achieving herd immunity because people die and one death is one too many.  

While some point to Sweden as a model for herd immunity, those with MUSC said that model was created in the early days of the pandemic. At that time, it was believed you could only be infected once and would no longer shed the virus after being infected.

Now—research shows after being infected you could shed the virus for an extended period of time, based on how your body reacted to contracting SARS-CoV2. 

As for Sweden, experts say they are not even close to the 70 to 90 percent of residents having fallen naturally ill from the virus. 

As for how vaccines come into play? 

In general—a vaccine is very specific and it has been to elicit protective immunity. That’s effectively the question that all the vaccine companies and scientists are asking. First and foremost is the vaccination safe—it won’t cause any bad side effects in you—the vaccinee. And secondly, does it work? 

DR. MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MUSC EPIDEMIOLOGIST 

As for where our vaccines are here in the U.S? As of Tuesday, there are 4 products that are in stage 3 of their vaccine trials. Those trials will go on for another 6 months until they’ll be able to determine whether or not that vaccine is effective or not.

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