The Amish community in the US achieves herd immunity naturally
Robert Gorter, MD, PhD
(with thanks to Frontnieuws)
June 29th, 2021
An Amish congregation in Pennsylvania is the first in the US to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19. When members resumed worship last spring, 90 percent of their congregation had reportedly been infected with the virus.
An Amish community in Pennsylvania is the first subpopulation in the US reported to have achieved herd immunity against Covid-19. The administrator of the medical center at the heart of the Amish community in New Holland Borough estimates, the Daily Mail reports, that up to 90 percent of families there have since had at least one infected relative, and that this religious enclave has achieved something no other community in the US has achieved: herd immunity.
Allen Hoover, an Amish man and administrator of Parochial Medical Center — a clinic that primarily serves surrounding Amish communities — said, without citing specific numbers:
“You would think if Covid-19 is as contagious as they say it would hit us like a tsunami, and it did.”
Public health professionals and epidemiologists confirmed the Corona outbreak Hoover described last year. However, they expressed concern that with a misrepresentation of herd immunity in a population that makes up 8% of Lancaster County, “covid-19 response measures” could be jeopardized.
Hoover further notes that the belief in herd immunity has led Amish members to forgo important measures to contain the disease, such as mandatory face masks and “social distancing.” The Amish, who were already reluctant to vaccinate, now see even more reason not to.
Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient number of people are immune to a disease to prevent a virus from finding new hosts, thus protecting the population as a whole.
Lancaster County’s Amish community, which includes both Amish and Mennonites, is not insignificant. Together, they make up nearly 8 percent of the county’s population out of a total of just over 545,000, according to estimates by Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.