The Chief of the Headquarter to Fight against Coronavirus in Tehran says the herd or mass immunisation method is very outdated, and has not been recommended in any country so far as the World Health Organisation has also rejected it.
Dr Alireza Zali says no country has put this plan on its agenda because herd immunity is completely unscientific and non-standard.
“Herd Immunity is a form of indirect immunity to contagious diseases that has no place in global immunology as this type of immunisation is almost inapplicable to newly-emerged diseases,” he said in an interview with IRIB Radio Health.
If this immunisation pattern is to be implemented, many people in the society will be infected, which will lead to the hospitaliation of many and the deaths of a large number of patients. The death toll in this method is horrible, he maintained.
Referring to the fact that coronavirus is a newly emerging virus with a high genetic diversity, Zali said “the virus creates a very different picture in each person, depending on pathogenic conditions and the immune structure of individuals.”
There is no guarantee the patient will get well if s/he is accidentally exposed to the virus. It may lead to the patient’s death, noted Zali.
“In our society, where there is a large population of elderly and people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, transplant recipients, and immunosuppressant, the use of this immunisation method is to welcome death and basically no immunology team inside the country or across the globe would recommend this method.”
According to Zali, such a plan may be confused with diseases such as measles and mumps, while the pattern of pathogenesis, development and spread of the coronavirus is quite different from other diseases.
He also noted that this method belongs to many centuries ago when there was no medicine, vaccine, isolation, screening and quarantines.
This method is not medically, socially, scientifically or practically recommended, and its use for the coronavirus can be highly contradictory to medical ethics, pointed out Zali.
“That means we have to intervene proactively in this regard because using methods to passively expose people to a disease is basically considered immoral and unprofessional. Therefore, we absolutely do not recommend it.”
He went on to emphasise that “with every effort we should not let 60 to 70 percent of the people get the corona disease because we will have a very scary and frightening picture on the way.”