The Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that more than 800 million Africans could be infected with coronavirus, if the virus is allowed to spread deliberately with the aim of achieving herd immunity.
8.4 million Africans may be at high risk if immunity was to be achieved naturally.
Currently, more than 1.5 million people have been exposed to coronavirus in Africa.
Herd immunity is a situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease through vaccination and/or prior illness to make its spread from person to person unlikely.
Wessam Mankoula, the incident manager for Covid-19 at the Africa CDC said the risk of deliberately giving the virus an avenue to spread will come at a high human cost.
Dr Mankoula said, going for herd immunity means, we will let the infection get to between 720 – 840 million people to reach this herd immunity, as Africa’s population sits at about 1.2 billion people.
The incident manager argues further that vaccine is a better solution which will Africa to control infections.
He feared if we go for herd immunity, our healthcare system becomes vulnerable with a huge number of cases and hospitals over-stressed.
Also, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom said relying on obtaining herd immunity naturally would be scientifically and ethically problematic.
He argued that herd immunity should protecting people from a virus, not b exposing them to it, confirming that herd immunity has never been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, much worse, a pandemic.
The WHO says for immunity to be achieved, at least between 60% to 70% of the population would need to be immune to the virus.
Both the Africa CDC and the WHO say the continent has done well in dealing with the pandemic. They attribute this to the strict lockdowns that were imposed at the early stages of the pandemic.