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No hope for herd immunity?

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - How close are we to herd immunity?

It’s a concept many health experts were hoping we’d achieve earlier in the pandemic, but now state health leaders said we may have missed the opportunity.

Assistant State Health Officer for ADPH, Dr. Karen Landers, said the concept of herd immunity isn’t very helpful to us now because that would mean nearly everyone in the population would need to encounter COVID and not everyone’s immune response is the same.

Dr. Landers adds that just because you’re exposed to COVID, or get it naturally, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be protected against the virus for any length of time.

She said several communicable diseases including Polio, Measles, and Chicken Pox never reached herd immunity, but have been nearly wiped out by vaccines.

Dr. Landers said that’s what we all should focus on now to get COVID-19 under control, instead of hoping for herd immunity.

“Because it really gives persons a false understanding of where we need to be with this novel, emerging virus, again thinking that, ‘Well, if everyone gets it, then I’ll be protected.’ So, I really think that with what we’re seeing, especially with the emergence of Delta, that that has further made this really a difficult concept to keep in mind and I think that people need to look at it in terms of how many people we need to have vaccinated,” Dr. Landers explained.

Dr. Landers said we need to get as many people as possible vaccinated, so there will be less opportunities for the virus to mutate.

She said we want to avoid the emergence of deadlier variants that may be resistant to our current vaccines.

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