Achieve herd immunity before allowing unvaccinated in schoolsMonday, August 30, 2021
It is preposterous for the Ministry of Education to allow unvaccinated students to attend face-to-face classes during the community spread of the contagious Delta variant — a highly contagious strain of the SARS-CoV-2.
Our people seem to only live for the moment and so forget our history. Jamaica's success against measles, for example, was because an estimated 95 per cent of the population was vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. In turn the remaining five per cent received protection because, at 95 per cent coverage measles will no longer spread.
The same principle applies during the present novel coronavirus pandemic. Herd immunity, also known as population immunity, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population, not just students, is immune, either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) supports achieving herd immunity through vaccination, not by allowing a disease to spread through any segment of the population as this would result in unnecessary infections and deaths.
No one knows for sure what the herd immunity threshold is for the coronavirus, though experts have recommended that it may be 70 per cent or higher. “Herd immunity doesn't make any one person immune, and outbreaks can still flare up, but it means that a virus is no longer easily jumping from person to person, helping to protect those who are still vulnerable to catching it.” ( The Independent, July 7, 2021) Therefore, herd immunity against the novel coronavirus should be achieved by protecting people through vaccination, not by exposing them to the pathogen that causes the disease.
At the time of writing reuters.com reported that, “Jamaica has administered at least 501,676 doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs two doses, that's enough to have vaccinated about 8.5 per cent of the country's population.” Jamaica's population is estimated at 2.9 million. This is nowhere near the United Kingdom's 70 per cent or more which is needed to develop herd immunity or allow relaxing of safety protocols.
Let us trust science not magic. No unvaccinated students should be allowed in school until at least 70 per cent of the population of Jamaica is vaccinated.
Dudley C McLean II