Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Aiming for “zero covid”

To achieve “zero covid” we need to include the controlled, careful acquisition of population (herd) immunity

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 09 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3487
  1. Raj S Bhopal, emeritus professor of public health
  1. Edinburgh Migration, Ethnicity, and Health Research Group, Usher Institute, Medical School, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK
  1. raj.bhopal{at}

Torjesen asks whether the UK should aim for zero covid.1 Of course it should, but how? My suggested strategy includes herd immunity, which I rename population immunity given the antipathy to the word herd, evoking animals.2

On 7 April 2020 Martin McKee wrote to the covid-19 global researchers email group “seeking sensible thoughts about coming out of lockdown.” I responded with an eight point plan, the last point being that in the absence of a vaccine …

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