WHO: Herd immunity will not happen in 2021

The World Health Organization has told that herd immunity against the coronavirus will not be achieved this year, despite the growing availability of vaccines.

The UN health agency said that as of Friday, 42 countries around the world, mainly industrialized ones, have begun or are preparing to vaccinate people.

The WHO's chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, told a regular news conference on Monday that it takes time to scale the production of doses for people around the world. She said, "We are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021."

Swaminathan said that even if herd immunity happens in a couple of pockets in a few countries, it is not going to protect people across the world.

She emphasized the importance of continuing to implement public health and social measures.

Her comments came after the WHO said last Thursday that it does not know when exactly the world will obtain herd immunity, which requires more than 70 percent of its population to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the Chinese government's announcement that a WHO investigative team will enter China on Thursday following delays.

He expressed hope that the WHO scientists will work effectively with their Chinese counterparts while investigating the origins of the coronavirus.