WATCH — What does herd immunity mean?
Will it help us fight COVID-19?
Alberta’s top doctor disappointed some people last week when she said we can’t rely on “herd immunity” to help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Herd immunity happens when a large group of people develop a resistance to an illness, either because their bodies have fought it off or because they’ve been vaccinated.
Spreading the virus on purpose could be ‘deadly’
Some people have suggested we should just let the coronavirus spread in the hopes that we become immune to it.
For example, Quebec Premier François Legault made that suggestion back in April when many businesses and schools were closed.
But that would be a “deadly” strategy, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, during a news conference on Sept. 28.
Why wouldn’t that approach work?
We don’t yet know if people become immune to the virus once they’ve had it, Hinshaw said.
Plus, hospitals wouldn’t be able to handle the number of serious COVID-19 cases if we did that, she said, and people could die.
In the past, vaccines have helped people achieve herd immunity against certain diseases, but we don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine yet.
Watch Saara’s latest video to find out more about herd immunity and how it works:
Be sure to watch these videos for more information about COVID-19:
- What’s it like to get a COVID-19 test?
- What is the second wave?
- What are COVID-19 symptoms in kids?
- What is contact tracing?
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Graphic design by Philip Street/CBC