A volunteer, 36, is given a candidate vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, in March, 2020. (Photo: China Daily)
“Ethical herd immunity can be achieved in a short time, as long as a vaccine comes into being,” Zhang Boli, a medical doctor, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and the principal of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine said on Thursday in an interview conducted by Chinese media.
He said that the notion of herd immunity was put forward a hundred years ago. This was only an expedient method in that era, and generally is not adopted in contemporary society. He explained that herd immunity can only go into effect when more than half of the people in a population become immune to a disease. However, the price of it is getting billions of people infected and sacrificing millions of people’s lives. “I disagree with herd immunity, especially exchanging some people’s lives for community immunity. It is not wise to just leave people contracting the virus.”
Having people vaccinated is an ethical way to achieve community immunity. He added that the coronavirus pandemic cannot be contained within one or two years, but it can be controlled after the majority of people are vaccinated. He estimates that the vaccine will be developed within one or two years. “Coronavirus can be called ‘a disease that co-exists with human beings’,” he said.
China has approved three COVID-19 vaccine candidates for clinical trials. A vaccine developed by a research team led by Chen Wei, an academician of CAE, commenced its second clinical trial on April 9.