AstraZeneca Scientist Says Delta Variant Makes Herd Immunity Impossible. Here's Why

According to the Oxford/AstraZeneca founder, the Delta variant has altered the equation of herd immunity.Sir Andrew Pollard, an Oxford professor of pediatric infect and immunity, spoke at Tuesday's UK Parliament meeting. He said that herd immunity was "not possible" now that the Delta variant has been circulating.Pollard stated that "We know with coronavirus, that this current variant of the Delta variant will still infect those who have been vaccinated. That does not mean that anyone still unvaccinated will contract the virus at some point."He stated that it is unlikely that herd immunity can ever be achieved and said the next variant in the novel coronavirus "may even be better at transmitting to vaccinated population".Even though the Delta variant is milder for those who have been vaccinated, they can still be infected.Experts had hoped that COVID-19 would help herd immunity, just as it was with measles.Many countries have achieved measles immunity by vaccination 95 percent of their population. This includes the United States, which has ended endemic transmission since 2000. Because once someone is vaccinated against measles they are unable to transmit the virus.COVID-19 ensures that vaccines continue to fulfill their primary function of protecting against severe diseases. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people who have been vaccinated against the Delta variant are 25 percent less likely to develop severe illness or even die. It will usually cause mild to no symptoms in the vast majority of people who get it.However, evidence is mounting that fully vaccinated individuals can still transmit the virus via the Delta variant.Pollard stated, "We don’t have anything that will stop this transmission to other people."Israel is an excellent example. COVID-19 cases fell in Israel after the country vaccinated approximately 80 percent of its adults. Some thought it had achieved herd immunity. However, the Delta variant has brought on a new surge of cases.Business Insider originally published this article.More Business Insider: