Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland will never adopt "ethically wrong" herd immunity
The First Minister said she is aware of scientific advice which backs the policy as way to bring about a faster return to normality. It would mean that younger people, at lower risk from serious health problems if they contract the virus, are allowed return to work and go about their daily business. As numbers of infected people soar, so would immunity levels across the population.
But older people would be at greater risk and forced to self-isolate to protect themselves.
The First Minister rejected this approach, as she refused to rule out the prospect of a return to "shielding" for vulnerable Scots if cases keep rising.
"The shielding debate for me comes to the heart of a debate about how we deal with Covid as a country," she told MSPs.
"There are people of the opinion right now, including some scientists, and they're entitled to hold this opinion, that we should just basically seal off the vulnerable groups of our society and let everybody else live their lives normally and let Covid do what it will do amongst the healthier population.
"I don't agree with that practically or ethically. We can't segregate our lives in that way. We live interdependently, younger people live with older people.
"And I don't think ethically its right either that we expect one group of the population to bear all of the burden of dealing with this pandemic.
"We all have to shoulder some of the burden of dealing with this pandemic. I think ethically that is important.
"It also gives a misleading message to younger, healthier people that they are at no risk. They are at lower risk, but they are not at no risk, either of dying or, perhaps more so, of having serious health implications.
"These are actually really important practically, as well as ethical considerations. I think its better that we all try to keep shielded people safe, rather than expect them to hide themselves away with all of the impact of them, while the rest of us go back to normal. "
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