Senior Israeli Health Ministry officials are reportedly weighing a switch to a policy of reaching herd immunity through mass infection by Covid-19.
In light of the lack of immediate rise in serious illness, Channel 12 news reported Tuesday evening that senior officials in the Health Ministry have recently raised the option of switching to a “mass infection model.”
That would mirror Sweden’s policy in the early stage of the pandemic, which saw the country elect not to impose major restrictions on people who aren’t in risk groups, in a bid to continue normal life while eventually reaching herd immunity.
** Herd Immunity against Sars-CoV-2 isn’t possible. Implementing this plan would lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of Israelis, and would remove many hundreds of thousands more from the workforce. You don’t need to take our word for it – just wait one month, then we’ll revisit this discussion to see how the policy of mass infection worked in the UK and the USA over winter. **
15th March 2020:
— Corona Heads Up (@CoronaHeadsUp) March 15, 2020
Back in July 2021, another hare-brained proposal was the talk of the town:
UPDATE, 31st December 2021:
An interesting opinion piece in Ynet.co.uk by Prof. Siegal Sadetzki, former head of public health at the Israeli Health Ministry, outlines some of the reasons behind the shift in Israeli policy.
“I object to the idea of reaching herd immunity through mass infection. My medical advice to anyone, and especially those at high risk, is to be as vigilant as possible and try getting through this wave without getting infected.
Infection does not necessarily make you immune and its side effects could be severe. The idea of herd immunity is irrelevant and will not help us move forward to end the pandemic.
Any person who wishes to ensure their safety and of their family and loved ones should make sure to always wear a face mask, avoid gatherings, work from home if possible and get vaccinated.
Perhaps the real meaning of living under the shadow of the virus is to shift decision-making into the hands of the individual. It is time to shift the paradigm of responsibility — there are general decisions on the national level that are appropriate for a state of emergency, and then there are personal decisions.”
** We have all seen what happens when you shift the paradigm of responsibility towards the individual. Just look at what has happened in Britain and the USA over the last two years. Do either of these countries really represent a model that any other country should be following?
Tackling Sars-CoV-2 has to be a collective global effort.
Absolving governments of their responsibilities in a pandemic would lead to certain defeat against the virus and to the destruction of human life on a quite unimaginable scale. **
UPDATE: 3rd January 2022
“The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable.
This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.”