MASS VACCINATION ADVOCATES RELY ON “HERD IMMUNITY” TO MAKE THEIR CASE. BUT IT DOESN’T EXIST.
Lawrence Solomon, Consumer Policy Institute
June 14, 2014
“When vaccination rates are very high, as they still are in the nation as a whole, everyone is protected,” explained USA Today in a recent editorial entitled “Vaccine opt-outs put public health at risk.”
“This ‘herd immunity’ protects the most vulnerable, including those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, infants too young to get vaccinated and people on whom the vaccine doesn’t work. But herd immunity works only when nearly the whole herd joins in. When some refuse vaccinations and seek a free ride, immunity breaks down and everyone is more vulnerable.”
The concept of “herd immunity” first materialized in the 1930s, when Johns Hopkins University’s Arthur Hedrich discovered that, after 55% of Baltimore’s population acquired measles (and thus immunity to measles), the rest of the population, or “herd,” became protected. This concept provides today’s rationale for insisting that everyone be vaccinated.