The World Health Organization warned that herd immunity likely won’t happen in 2021, which suggests requests to social distance might extend through the rest of the year, according to multiple reports.
What’s going on?
Herd immunity happens when the majority of a population becomes immune to a virus because they were either infected or vaccinated.
- “Because even as vaccines start protecting the most vulnerable, we are not going to achieve any level of population immunity, or herd immunity in 2021 and even if it happens in a couple of pockets in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world,” Swaminathan said, according to The Associated Press.
Masks and social distancing will be advised until this happens.
- “The vaccines are going to come. They are going to go to all countries, but meanwhile we mustn’t forget that there are measures that work and ... it’s really important to remind people, both governments as well as individuals, on the responsibilities and the measures that we continue to need to practice ... for the next ... well for the rest of this year at least,” she said.
Of course, some of this has to do with getting the vaccines out to the entire world. But that’s easier said than done. In fact, 1 in 4 people across the world won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine until 2022, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.
That number comes from a new analysis, which was published in the BMJ, that said high-income countries have reserved about 51% of the 7.5 billion doses of different COVID-19 vaccines. But these countries only represent 14% of the world’s population, leaving plenty of countries without access to the vaccines.