What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is the theory that when enough of “the herd” is immune to a particular virus or bacteria, transmission is stopped and the pathogen no longer circulates among the population. Before vaccination natural herd immunity was obtained in populations when everyone but the new susceptible group was immune to the pathogen.
Can vaccines create herd immunity?
The term herd immunity has been co-opted to refer to the effect that vaccines should have for a society. Initially, it was thought that at least 55% of the population needed to be vaccinated for measles in order to stop it’s spread. It was quickly realized that not only would multiple vaccinations (booster shots) be needed, but that the percentage of the population needing to be vaccinated was greater. Currently, vaccinologists claim this figure needs to be 95% or greater. And even then, outbreaks repeatedly occur in highly vaccinated populations.
The case for mandated vaccination – is it reasonable?
Those who want vaccinations mandated claim that families that don’t vaccinate are being irresponsible and selfish by relying on others to protect their children.
The obvious and usual question ask by those against mandated vaccination is this: If your child is vaccinated, what are you worried about?
These are the two answers given:
- We need to protect the immuno-compromised, those kids who have cancer or chronic diseases and who can’t get the vaccine.
- There is a failure rate for each vaccine; and we need to protect those for whom the vaccine didn’t work.
These answers, however, are without merit since:
- The number of immuno-compromised children in any one school is generally minuscule, so this seems to be an exaggerated concern. Severely immuno-compromised children do not go to school because of the danger of any infection, not just ones for which there is a vaccine.
- Vaccines can fail to work for three reasons. Primary failure is when the vaccinated individual never develops antibodies to the disease for which s/he has been vaccinated. Secondary failure occurs as the vaccine wanes and the vaccinated individual is again susceptible to the illness. Tertiary failure occurs when a different strain of the pathogen appears for which the vaccine is not effective. Failure rates vary by vaccine type. For primary failure, the flu shot typically has a 50% – 80% failure rate; sometimes higher; the mumps portion of the MMR has a failure rate as high as 85%; and measles is claimed to have a 2-10% failure rate.
If this is a matter of pikuach nefesh (saving lives), we should be testing all children for antibodies, and kick out those who exhibit primary or secondary failure. Whether they did their hishtadlus (effort) or not is immaterial, after all, Lo Sa’amod Al Dam Re’acha (do not stand idly by your brother’s blood)! Anyone who does not have antibodies, vaccinated or not should be considered a danger to the other kids. And if it is permissible for those children for whom the vaccine did not work or waned to remain in school then the 10 – 20% who don’t vaccinate should be able to remain as well.
- Vaccine shedding. Vaccine shedding occurs for a number of vaccines, where freshly vaccinated children can shed and spread the virus for a few weeks after they get the vaccine.
- Vaccines that prevent disease but not transmission. Some vaccines only prevent overt disease symptoms in the vaccinated person but do not prevent colonization and unwitting transmission.
- Vaccines for non-communicable diseases. Some vaccines are for diseases which are not contagious or not contagious in a school setting (those that are only communicable through intimate relationships and shared needles).
These are acknowledged by vaccine proponents and the CDC.
The pretense of herd immunity as a reason for mandating vaccines appears to be without merit. There is a big difference between vaccine coverage and vaccine immunity. Even mandating 100 percent coverage does not mean that there will be anywhere near assumed vaccine immunity rate which is claimed necessary for herd immunity. Therefore, there is no basis for mandating vaccines and unless children are sick or have been exposed to someone who is contagious, all children should be allowed in school.
- Keeping your school or shul free of disease outbreaks
- Herd Immunity and Compulsory Childhood Vaccination: Does the Theory Justify the Law?
- What Is Vaccine Failure?
- Public Health Failure to Warn About Vaccine Failure
- What Is Going On With Measles? The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles
- An Increasing, Potentially Measles-Susceptible Population Over Time After Vaccination in Korea
- What Is Wrong with Pertussis Vaccine Immunity? The Problem of Waning Effectiveness of Pertussis Vaccines
- The Re-Emergence of Measles in Developed Countries: Time to Develop the Next-Generation Measles Vaccines?
- Sibling Transmission of Vaccine-Derived Rotavirus (RotaTeq)
- You will never look at vaccinated children the same!- Shedding Viruses
- Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population — Israel, July–August 2017
- Pertussis Infection in Fully Vaccinated Children in Day-Care Centers, Israel
- Mumps in a highly vaccinated Marshallese community in Arkansas, USA: an outbreak report
- A Measles Epidemic Threshold in a Highly Vaccinated Population
- Harvard Immunologist: Unvaccinated Children Pose Zero Risk to Anyone
- Letters for hearing of commissioners of the IRRC.
Why Mumps And Measles Can Spread Even When We’re Vaccinated
- Mumps outbreaks are spiking — and raising questions about vaccine effectiveness
- Vaccine Safety PowerPoint
- Measles: The New Red Scare
- Herd Immunity: History, Theory, Practice