World Health Organization: COVID-19 herd immunity won't happen in 2021

Posted at 2:48 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 19:05:01-05

(WXYZ) — Despite mass-vaccination campaigns rolling out in many countries, global herd immunity for COVID-19 will not likely happen this year, according to the World Health Organization.

The statement concerning global herd immunity was made by Dr. Swaminathan. She’s the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, and there are a couple of reasons that support her viewpoint. Number one, we have over 7.8 billion people living here on Mother Earth. So it makes sense that it’s going to take time to reach everyone in order to build up immunity around the world. Secondly, vaccination programs have mostly kicked off in wealthier countries like the US, Britain, and Canada, while many poorer countries are still waiting. The United Nations health agency is hoping to begin vaccinations soon in some of those poorer countries, but much of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine supply has currently been bought by richer countries, so it will likely take time to make significant global progress.

To achieve herd immunity, we need 75 to 80 percent of people to be vaccinated or to have developed immunity through infection. When you take all of the kids under the age of 16 out of the equation, it means that a higher percentage of adults need to be protected against COVID-19 for us to reach herd immunity. So, now you might now be thinking “when will we have vaccines for younger kids”? Well, both Pfizer and Moderna have clinical trials underway for kids as young as age 12. Pfizer expects to have safety and efficacy results in early 2021. While Moderna expects to have their data in late fall. As for kids younger than age 12, Moderna does plan to start a study for kids between the ages of 1 and 11, but they haven’t released a start date yet.

I got my second vaccine shot yesterday, and I can assure you firsthand that getting vaccinated was not scary. Yes, I had some side effects – fatigue and a fever last night. But I was not worried, I was actually glad because it showed that my immune system is working. Now, for the folks who are concerned about safety. I can tell you that I didn't hesitate to get the vaccine because I know how stringent the FDA is, and all of the data would have been scrutinized by top-notch scientists. So if you can get vaccinated, I highly recommend that you do so.