Health expert says 60%-70% population immunity no longer enough to end pandemic

Prof. Gabi Barbash, former director-general of the Health Ministry, tells Channel 12 News that health experts around the world no longer believe that 60%-70% immunity in the population will be enough to achieve herd immunity and end the pandemic.

Due to the new variants of the coronavirus that are more contagious than the previous forms, it is now believed that immunity of some 90% will be needed to effectively vanquish the disease.

The World Health Organization warns, meanwhile, that herd immunity will not be achieved this year.

“We are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021,” WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan tells a briefing, stressing the need to continue measures like physical distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing to rein in the pandemic.