Story at a glance
- WHO (World Health Organization) changed the definition of herd immunity three times in the past 7 months.
- Herd Immunity is a multi-faceted concept in which it can be achieved in more than one way.
- Herd Immunity already has a set definition in immunology, it cannot be changed.
- Question yourself: Why did WHO feel the need to make it appear as though herd immunity can only be achieved through mass vaccination efforts?
The first definition
A viral screenshot has been exposing the World Health Organization (WHO) and their latest approach to COVID-19.
On their website, there is a COVID-19 Q&A page where commonly asked questions are readily answered. One question being: What is herd immunity?
The first, and more accurate, definition of Herd Immunity was posted on June 9th, 2020. It reads,
“Herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. This means that even people who haven’t been infected, or in whom an infection hasn’t triggered an immune response, they are protected because people around them who are immune can act as buffers between them and an infected person. The threshold for establishing herd immunity for COVID-19 is not yet clear. ”(1)
Herd Immunity has a set definition in the scientific realm of immunology. This means that it cannot be redefined or manipulated without upsetting the previous, current, or future discourse and understandings of its meaning.
A screenshot from the June 9, 2020 version of the webpage is provided below.
The second definition
However, a manipulated definition replaced the original on November 13th, 2020. This definition reads, “Herd immunity, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached. Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.”(2)
WHO has publicly admitted they support the use of vaccinations to achieve herd immunity instead of through natural exposure. The WHO Director-General’s Oct. 12 speech addresses their advising in favor of vaccinations, and again reiterates the false definition.
Instead of providing an objectively unbiased definition for Herd Immunity, WHO made the mistake of making it appear as though Herd Immunity can only be achieved by and is restricted to the use of vaccines.
As previously mentioned, Herd Immunity already has a set definition in immunology where it states that both vaccinations and natural exposure can be used to reach achievement. It is obvious that WHO let their personal preferences account for what should have been a true and accurate representation of information.
A screenshot from the November 13, 2020 version of the webpage is provided below.
The third definition
Now, if you were to visit the WHO’s COVID-19 Q&A page today, there would be another new definition which was tweaked on December 31st, 2020.
This latest definition states, “’Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. WHO supports achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccination, not by allowing a disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.”(3)
This current definition is objective enough that it gives an accurate meaning to Herd Immunity but is immediately followed by a biased statement from WHO. The careful tactics and terminology used would overshadow the fact that there are other options besides vaccinations to achieve widespread immunity.
A screenshot from the current webpage is provided below.
The World Health Organization changed the definition of Herd Immunity three times within seven months with the excuse that medical information must always be processed and updated. However, definitions are almost always finite. The meaning behind a word or concept cannot be changed because an organization wishes to dictate how their readers are going to perceive information.
Manipulating this specific definition was no mistake. WHO knew they were projecting false information, otherwise the current revision would not have taken place after receiving negative feedback. This was a careful calculation on how to convince their readers that there is no choice in the matter and that vaccinations are the only way to achieve herd immunity.
(1) World Health Organization, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Serology, June 9, 2020.
(2) World Health Organization, COVID-19: Serology, antibodies and immunity, November 13, 2020.
(3) World Health Organization, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Serology, antibodies, and immunity, December 31, 2020.