Herd immunity 'inevitable outcome' of Covid vaccine, SAGE adviser reveals

5 December 2020, 12:49

By Seán Hickey

This SAGE member announced on LBC that the Covid-19 vaccine will 'be the end of the epidemic.'

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Professor Graham Medley is Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He was speaking to Matt Frei in his independent capacity.

He accepted that the use of the term herd immunity was problematic earlier on, but noted that "now we have a vaccine we can use it much more freely."

Matt wondered if the world will achieve "herd immunity through the vaccine essentially," and the Government's chief pandemic modeller announced "that will be the end of the epidemic, and it won't end with a big bang, it'll end with a whimper."

"Herd immunity isn't an aim, herd immunity is an inevitable outcome," he added.

Professor Medley told Matt that if the vaccine works, the won't need restrictions anymore due to widespread immunity to Covid-19.

Matt prodded the SAGE adviser, wondering if scientific discussion around herd immunity "might have led the Government briefly to think 'ok well let's not do test and trace,'" in the early stages of the pandemic.

Professor Medley didn't get into semantics, but insisted "the point is that herd immunity exists and it will be the end point."

He warned that if the vaccine doesn't work "that will go on for many many years until we get to the point where actually, everyone will have had it."

Professor Medley concluded that herd immunity is "not an aim, that's just the way it will go."

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