Opinion | What if We Can’t Reach Herd Immunity?

Readers express frustration that those who refuse to get the vaccine are putting others at risk.

To the Editor:

Re “‘Herd Immunity’ Dims With Pace of Vaccinations” (front page, May 3):

Given all of the accumulated real-world data, and the remarkable accomplishments in vaccines, it is now abundantly clear that the risks of Covid-19 are simply a numbers game, governed almost totally by human behavior. Those risks now transcend political and cultural posturing and considerations.

Individuals who choose to exercise their right to reject the painfully acquired public health guidelines, and the vaccinations, need to clearly understand that besides prolonging the pandemic worldwide, they are endangering their own lives and those of their loved ones who have chosen to behave similarly.

We now have the tools to control this plague. Surely it is time for plain common sense to prevail?

Herschel Flax
Great Neck, N.Y.
The writer is a professor of anatomy at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

To the Editor:

Now that experts agree that herd immunity does not appear to be achievable in the near future in the United States, it is reasonable to turn efforts to the next best strategy, which is damage control. It is time for schools, organizations and private businesses to require vaccination for Covid-19.

The vaccines are safe and effective, and more people should be required to take them in a society that desires to “get back to normal” but is not fully willing to take steps to achieve that goal.

Jeffery Semel
Evanston, Ill.
The writer is an infectious diseases physician.

To the Editor:

I am 82 and retired, with seven children and 12 grandchildren scattered throughout the United States. Because of a blood cancer, my vaccine did not produce antibodies, so I am not protected. I was hoping to rely on herd immunity to provide a measure of protection, assuming that most Americans would be vaccinated not just to protect themselves, but also to protect their families, friends and others.

My husband and I, before Covid, spent time with our far-flung family, attending public events and volunteering. Because of the ungenerous response of many who refuse the vaccine, we and people like us will need to be confined to our homes in order to stay alive. Whatever happened to “love thy neighbor”?

Sandra Dean
Philadelphia

To the Editor:

I would be perfectly happy to never hear another word out of the mouth of Donald Trump. However, wouldn’t a 30-second public service announcement from him urging everyone to get the Covid vaccine be the best way to overcome all the vaccine hesitancy and conspiracy theories out there?

Robert Newell
Forest Hills, Queens

To the Editor:

The way I see it, there are two routes to achieve Covid immunity: 1) get the vaccine; 2) contract the disease. The first way is painless, free, swift and effective. The second way is costly, dangerous and time-consuming, and may have lasting consequences. However, both work; one has a choice.

So long as so many people in the United States seem to prefer the second option to the first, we will all go on bearing the burden of worry for those who remain at risk, and Covid will continue to rule the nation’s minds and spirits. Many will overcome their reservations and get vaccinated. Another cohort believes that Covid isn’t a threat, so the disease in its multiplying forms will ever be with us.

It’s pretty well guaranteed, however, that a steady though dwindling number will continue to sicken and some will die.

Polly Longsworth
Amherst, Mass.

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