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Vaccination Is Not the Only Road to Herd Immunity, But it is the High Road, Say Experts

Dr. Thomas Yadegar and Dr. Armand Dorian discuss their experience on the frontlines treating COVID, and why natural immunity is a miserable way to end a pandemic.

There are only two ways for a population to attain herd immunity against COVID or any other pandemic: Widespread vaccination, or a large percentage of the population gaining natural immunity through infection. The latter, say two leading experts and frontline doctors, is not an option that anybody should find appealing. This is because achieving immunity the hard way requires a much higher human cost that is completely unnecessary thanks to the availability of safe and effective vaccines.

“Say you want to cross the Nile river knowing some of us will drown and you're like, ‘Okay, why don't we all just swim across the river?’ Because there's a better way—there's a bridge,” Dr. Armand Dorian, chief medical officer at USC’s Verdugo Hills Hospital, tells Roundtable’s Rob Nelson. “And yes, you can trip off the bridge. Maybe one in a million fall off the bridge. But 999,999, make it across the bridge, as opposed to [many more lost] trying to swim across the Nile. And for people who are experts [and] physicians, who claim that swimming across the Nile is a smarter solution—honestly, I feel like they've lost their way.”

“What we want is for everyone to get vaccinated so that we can have everyone protected,”said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, medical director of the intensive care unit at Providence Cedars Sinai Medical Center. “Because I don't ever want to see another person in the ICU dying from this horrible virus.”