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IDPH Director Talks About COVID Vaccines and Herd Immunity


Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.

At a Monday briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she knows a lot of people are concerned about the speed at which the vaccine is being developed, but this process is different.

"The difference with the development and testing of the COVID-19 vaccine in comparison to other vaccines is that every possible resource has been thrown behind the creation of this new vaccine. The U.S. government has doled out billions to move vaccines through the requisite phases in record time."

Ezike said the review of lab and clinical data is still being followed, which is important to know since we can hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine, but it means nothing if the public isn't willing to get vaccinated.

On the other hand, Ezike said the cost of trying to establish COVID-19 herd immunity is too great.

Some have suggested that if enough people get the virus, the majority of the population will become immune and the pandemic will end.

But, Dr. Ezike points out with less than 10 percent of Illinoisans testing positive so far...over 10 thousand have already died.

"The thought of how many people would need to get the infection and die to get to that 60, 70, 80% is unfathomable. I dare say that is not a moral way to approach this, to think we would sacrifice that many lives to get to this quote herd immunity."

Ezike said they also don't know what percentage of the population would have to be infected to eventually reach herd immunity and end the pandemic.

As a news producer and news anchor on All Things Considered, Brad provides the listeners with a recap of the day's top local and state news as well as breaking news at any given time. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org
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