Herd immunity is “not a possibility” with the dominant Delta variant of coronavirus, an expert has said.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, referred to the idea as “mythical” and warned that a vaccine programme should not be built around the idea of achieving it.
Herd immunity is when enough people become resistant to a disease – through vaccination or previous exposure – that it can no longer significantly spread among the rest of the population.
While the statement is concerning, Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of East Anglia, said we should avoid “frightening ourselves,” as high case numbers do not necessarily mean high hospitalisation.
Many people will now experience the virus without symptoms, he added, so we should move towards language that reflects the “endemic” nature of the virus.