The sheeple effect: UK’s herd immunity policy is a very bad ...

World

The sheeple effect: UK’s herd immunity policy is a very bad idea, say experts

Government floats the idea that virus transmission will stop if many people catch it and become immune

Sarah Knapton

Immunology experts have criticised the British government’s strategy of allowing large numbers of people to become infected with coronavirus to develop “herd immunity” so that the more vulnerable do not contract the disease.

On Friday, Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, said the aim was to “broaden the peak” of the illness but not suppress it, adding that if many people caught it and became immune then transmission would stop. He suggested about 60% of Britons would need to become infected to develop herd immunity and protect those most at risk.

On Sunday, health secretary Matt Hancock appeared to backtrack on the idea, saying “herd immunity” was a “scientific concept” rather than the government’s goal or policy...

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