The importance of collective immunity - CIRSD Youth Panel

The Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) organized it’s first Youth Panel, an online seminar that gathered more than 60 students from across the globe. The two-day discussion entitled “World in 2021 and Beyond”, moderated by CIRSD President, H.E. Vuk Jeremic, featured Dr. Samir Khleif, a world-renowned scientist, researcher, and a pioneer in the field of immuno-oncology and John W. Rendon, CEO and President of The Rendon Group, Inc, a global strategic communication consultancy that worked in more than 100 countries.

The participants were brilliant students and recent graduates from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, USA, Brazil, Germany, Ethiopia, etc. These young people with outstanding GPAs and impeccable biographies showed a serious understanding of the global problems and significant motivation to make an impact.

The Youth Panel opened with a discussion between Dr. Samir Khleif and Vuk Jeremic, followed by questions from the students. Dr. Khleif took this opportunity to talk about COVID-19 from a health perspective and how it affected the world, explaining what differentiates it from anything else we have encountered in recent decades.

He reflected on the most important factors that make COVID-19 so dangerous, such as the R-naught (R0), which in this case can amount to between 3 and 5, or the fact that the virus can present as asymptomatic, making it even more difficult to track and cure.
The good news, according to Dr. Khleif, is that we now understand a lot of what this virus causes.

Commenting on the fact that the process of vaccine development only took 10 months, he explained that there are several reasons behind it: major development of biotechnology in the past 5-10 years; enormous amount of money that was put into the research; and great community ability that we have now.
He highlighted the importance of collective immunity, stating that “we absolutely can go back to normal, but we need herd immunity. This mean that the virus cannot spread from one person to another and it eventually dies off. To reach this, we need between 80-85% of the world to have immunity”.

During the discussion, Jeremic asked about the type of vaccine people should take, not only from a scientific point of view, but for practical reasons as well, like complying with traveling regulations. Dr. Khleif responded that he recommends taking any vaccine that is available, and that he would not choose one or the other, because they all generate good effectiveness.

The second day of the CIRSD Youth Panel was devoted to political implications of the pandemic and other pivotal political events, such as the U.S. Presidential Election.  In this highly intellectual debate, the students had the opportunity to engage in a discussion with the CEO of Rendon Group - John Rendon. The diversity of the questions and different perspectives helped facilitate an even more interesting event.

Commenting on U.S. – China relations, Rendon expressed his belief that in the future there will be cooperation and harmonious competition among the two leading superpowers. He also answered questions about the militarization of China and the potential reduction of the gap between Chinese and American military. Steered by the questions from the students, the discussion flow varied from opinions on the Belt and Road Initiative, to the Iran Nuclear Deal.




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