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What You Need to Know About Herd Immunity

by | March 5, 2019

Herd immunity or community immunity is the notion that when enough people in a certain population are immune to a certain disease, the entire group eventually becomes immune to it which in turn, can wipe out said disease. This immunity can happen through either vaccination or recovery from a natural infection. The idea of community immunity is a very common topic that comes up when it comes to the debate on vaccination. Keep reading to learn more about herd immunity- how it works, who benefits from it, and why it’s worth talking about.

herd immunity

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What You Need to Know About Herd Immunity

How does it work exactly?

In an interview with Manish Sadarangani in April of 2016, he notes that community immunity only works when a certain percentage of immune individuals in a population has been achieved.

“The more contagious it is then the more people need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to work…To achieve herd immunity for measles their least 90-95% of the population need to be vaccinated. A disease like polio is less contagious, and 80-85% of the population would need to be vaccinated for it to work”

Sadarangani, M. (2016, April 26). Interview by University of Oxford, Oxford Vaccination Group

Who benefits from Herd Immunity?  

Herd immunity has certain groups of people that it is targeted to benefit, namely young children and un-vaccinable individuals (notably individuals with compromised immune systems including those with cancer and HIV/AIDS). Due to weaker, developing immune systems young children might be at the highest risk and often have the most severe illness. Due to several medical reasons, there will always be few children for whom vaccination might not be possible. These can be being too young or a problem with their immune system (Sadarangani, 2016). It may also benefit the population as a whole, by possibly eradicating a disease.

So what?

No matter your stance on the debate of vaccination, recognizing that herd immunity is a fundamental component of our society is important. It is a benefit to both those that are vaccinated and those that are not vaccinated. However, it only benefits the population when a certain majority of immunity is obtained, artificially through vaccinations or naturally otherwise.

What do you know about herd immunity? Let me know in the comments below.


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Gabriella Anaya

News Editor | Limoges, France | Gabriellaanaya@raisevegan.com

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