Living with Covid-19 is inevitable as herd immunity is no protection, Korean virus expert

2021.05.03 15:27:25 | 2021.05.03 15:42:56

(Far left) Oh Myung-don, chairman of the Central Clinical Committee for Emerging Disease Control [Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

(Far left) Oh Myung-don, chairman of the Central Clinical Committee for Emerging Disease Control [Photo by Yonhap]

People would have to learn to live with Covid-19 like a seasonable flu as safe herd immunity is unachievable, according to Oh Myung-don, a renowned infectious diseases expert in Korea.

“We may have to live with Covid-19, getting vaccinated periodically like flu,” said Oh, chairman of the Central Clinical Committee for Emerging Disease Control at a press conference held in Seoul on Monday.

There was a belief that if 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the country can build herd immunity.

Sadly no, the immunologist said as “There is no vaccine with efficacy of over 95 percent that prevents spread to another.”

“Pfizer vaccine is tested to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, not stopping transmission of the virus,” stressed Oh.

People in high-risk group for Covid-19 would still be required to take extra caution even if the herd immunity is achieved. Also, it is still unknown exactly how long the protection from current Covid-19 vaccine would last exactly, not to mention the protection against new variants, Oh added.

As it would be difficult to put an end to the Covid-19 pandemic or build herd immunity, the national vaccine policy should focus on protecting the high-risk group and minimize damage from Covid-19, Oh said

South Korea, with a population of about 51.7 million, began its Covid-19 vaccination campaign in late February. It has administered about 3.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccines so far, meaning 3.5 percent of the population has been vaccinated with the first dose in two-shot vaccine.

The country has been reporting around 600 new daily infections over the past month. There have been a total of 123,728 infections so far, as of Sunday.

By Pulse

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