Portuguese investigator Pedro Esteves says herd immunity is the myth Professor Andrew Pollard explained earlier this week

Portuguese investigator admits “we can never reach point of herd immunity”

Portuguese investigator Pedro Esteves has brought television reporters up to date on scientific thinking elsewhere, stressing that herd immunity is indeed the ‘myth’ that the ‘father of the AstraZeneca vaccine’ Professor Andrew Pollard said it was earlier this week (click here).

Up till now, in spite of data coming in from the United States (click here) and the UK, the official position in Portugal has continued to be that the country is forging ahead with mass-vaccinations of almost all age-groups on the basis that it is the only way to ‘beat the virus’.

On Tuesday, vaccine task force coordinator Henrique Gouveia e Melo said how important it was for every Portuguese, including youngsters and teens, to rally to the cause.

“We have to corner the virus so that it cannot condition society”, he said.

On SIC television last night, he was still talking of herd immunity only being attainable with roughly 90% of the population vaccinated.

But this appears not to be the case.

“What we know today is that the Delta variant can easily infect people who are vaccinated”, Pedro Esteves, an investigator at Porto’s Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO-InBIO), told SIC.

“One of the creators of the AstraZeneca/ Oxford vaccine has been to British parliament saying that we will not attain herd immunity; that it is a myth. In other words, these days it is perfectly clear that we will never be able to reach herd immunity”.

The most important form of protection as we are vaccinating people, he said, is to maintain rules like the wearing of masks and physical distancing “because these are what give guarantees”.

“What we are starting to realise”, he reiterated. “Is that a person who is vaccinated can be infected and can infect others”.

Bit by bit the data emerging in other countries is being aired on Portuguese media channels – however uncomfortable it may be.

Last week, for example, immunologist Manuel Santos Rosa said the only ‘sure thing’ when it comes to the Covid Digital Certificates being ‘demanded’ for access to so many public settings these days (not to mention airline travel) is if it relates to a recent negative test for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Proof of vaccination does not protect anyone other than the vaccinated person, he said – and right now no-one can put their hands in the fire to say how long this protection lasts either (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com