- Kids Health
Herd Immunity: Why NOT Vaccinating Your Child Can Hurt Other Children and people, so vaccinate the kids now!
In the past 10 years there has been a "movement" of concerned parents of autistic children loudly claiming some sort of a link between the childhood vaccines and variety of ailments, including autism ADD and ADHD, and so on, but they have no scientific evidence to back up any of their claims. However, they do have celebrities backing their cause, such as Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, so they get the airtime, and they spread all sort of falsehoods on the Internet. Due to widespread hysteria, and misunderstanding of the decisions involved, hundreds of thousands of parents chose NOT to immunize their children.
The result is resurgence of childhood diseases, the very diseases vaccines were supposed to stop: such as whopping cough (i.e. pertusis). Several outbreaks pertusis were reported in various locations around the US in 2010. Several infants have DIED because of it. In California alone, 10 babies died, and over six THOUSAND became sick in 2010. Outbreaks were reported in Texas and Florida, as well as many other states, and outbreaks had been predicted and reported back in May 2009.
Those children may not have died if more children have been vaccinated, even if they themselves may not have been. Such as the phenomenon known as "herd immunity". But first, what is Herd Immunity?
What Is Herd Immunity
Herd Immunity describe the phenomenon where even un-vaccinated individuals within a "herd" (group) are protected against the disease, as long as sufficient number of individuals within the herd HAVE been vaccinated. The more infectious the disease, the more people need to be immunized for herd immunity to work.
How does it work? In a community that is mostly vaccinated, the chance of infected person encountering an un-vaccinated person to pass the disease on is quite low, compared to a community that has a larger vulnerable population (i.e. un-vaccinated)... Once one person is infected, that person can pass it onto multiple vulnerable people, who in turn will pass it onto even MORE people... Thus, by simply reducing the amount of un-vaccinated people, (i.e. vaccinate more people), the chance of disease spreading is reduced, even among un-vaccinated people.
If you can't see the idea in your mind, let's try it with math.
Herd Immunity In Numbers
Let us assume a disease that is 100% infections... It will infect someone. However, the vaccine is 100% effective. If you have it, you cannot get sick from that disease. In reality, that doesn't happen, but let's just use that simple case to consider the following scenario.
Let's say in Community A, 95% of the population were vaccinated, so they can't get sick. The remaining 5% can get sick. And let's say one of them do. For comparison, in Community B, only 90% of the population were vaccinated. The remaining 10% can get sick.
In Community A, the sick person contacts 20 people, but since 95% is vaccinated, the chances are he infects only 1 person out of that 20. And if that person contacts 20 people, total infection is 2.
In Community B, the sick person contacts 20 people, but since only 90% is vaccinated, the chances are he infects 2 people out of 20. Two people contacting 20 each, that's 4 additional infections, for a total of 6.
And that's only 2nd round of infection. If you count even more rounds, that 5% extra of vaccination vastly reduces amount of potential infections. Just for fun, what if we add a round 3?
Community A, 2 people contacts 20 people each at infection rate of 5%, so it's now 4 total.
Community B, 6 people contacts 20 people each at infection rate of 10%, so it's 12 additional, for total of 18.
Community A: 8 infected
Community B: 36 infections + 18 = 54
Community A: 16 infected
Community B: 108+54 = 162 infected...
Community A: 32 infected
Community B: 324+162 = 486
That is Herd Immunity in action: when people vaccinate, even those who did not vaccinate are protected. Larger number of un-vaccinated / vulnerable people means the disease spreads much faster in the community where just 5% less people got vaccinated.
If you assume each community is 10000 people...
In community A, un-vaccinated count is about 500, so by round 6 you still have 468 people protected by herd immunity even though they were not vaccinated. 94% of vulnerable population were protected by Herd Immunity.
In Community B, with 1000 un-vaccinated people, almost half of them were infected by round 6 in this model. This population did not have enough vaccinated people for herd immunity to be very effective.
This example is assuming some absolutes. We are assuming that the disease is 100% infectious, and the vaccine is 100% effective. However, the basic math is the same. For pertusis (i.e. whooping cough) the real herd immunity threshold is 92-94%, according to mathematical models. For less infectious diseases, the herd immunity threshold is lower, as low as 80% in some cases.
Not Vaccinating Your Child Can Hurt Others As Well
Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Federal agency against diseases, tallied that over 6400 whooping cough infections were reported in California, with 10 deaths, all infants, in 2010, and the year is not over yet. This is the biggest outbreak of pertusis in almost 60 years.
Usually there should be only one to two thousand infections per year in the ENTIRE United States. In 1976 it was down to just over 1000 cases in the entire country. In 2009 there were OVER 20000 pertusis cases in the US. A previous outbreak in Michigan is still ongoing, with more infections reported year after year. See CDC website for pertussis outbreak information.
Dean Blumberg, a specialist of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and associate professor of pediatrics in UC Davis, blames parents who opted not to vaccinate their children for the outbreak.
“It’s not that they can’t afford it or don’t have access to vaccinations. We are seeing geographic clustering in areas with lower immunization rates, where parents choose to opt out because they are reading stuff on the Internet.”
Those children who were not immunized get sick, and pass the disease onto others. Whooping cough is usually not lethal... UNLESS babies are involved. Infants under 2 months of age cannot be vaccinated because their immune system has not developed yet. For them, whooping cough can be fatal. There were TEN DEATHS in California from pertusis in 2010 alone, all of them infants less than 2 months old.
Vaccine refusal may just make your child sick, but they can also KILL defenseless infants, because you chose NOT to immunize your child.
Immunize Your Children Protects Other Children As Well
Parents often consider vaccination is a solely "personal" decision. While I do not doubt that a parent should have control of their children, they should consider the effect of that control, when it comes to vaccination. It may be a personal decision, but it may have much wider-reaching consequences.
A 2009 study in Colorado branch of Kaiser Permanente members who were between 2 months to 18 year old from 1996 to 2007 revealed something very obvious: if the child was NOT vaccinated against pertusis (whooping cough), the child is 23 times more likely to catch the disease.
And before you say it is your decision, please consider those who CANNOT be vaccinated yet... infant less than 2 months old. They have not yet developed an immune system and thus cannot be vaccinated. They MUST rely on herd immunity and anti-infection protocols. If you do not vaccinate YOUR child, not only is your own child likely to get sick, your child may pass the disease onto others, possibly compromise herd immunity and put those infants at risk.
Mayo Clinic research group determined that 11% of the pertussis cases are due to vaccine refusal.
Vaccine Refusal is Bad Science
People who do not believe in vaccines set up websites such as "Vaccine Liberation" where they cite pseudo-science which supposedly "prove" that vaccines are actually bad for you.
Their proof mainly lies in the waivers that parents nowadays are asked to sign to allow their children to be immunized. They somehow claim that this "prove" that vaccines can be harmful. Frankly, this is completely backwards. There was no waivers for vaccines until the vaccine refusal folks started demanding their children to NOT be vaccinated.
Vaccine Liberation website claim to cite official stats that somehow "prove" that vaccination does no good. Well, this I have to see. And the link is to... Natural News. That doesn't look very official to me. Not any sort of study, nor does the author seem to have any credentials to make him or her a person of authority. So what is the article about?
The reality, as documented by the American Medical Association's own journal (JAMA) in the January 1999 issue, is that there is no connection between death from infectious diseases and vaccinations; that's right, "none".
Okay, where did they get this conclusion? Turns out this author just cited one graph, not the whole study. What's the graph? See the first graph to right. The author wrote:
From 1900 through the 1920s, the infectious disease rate goes down at an impressive pace. This is a time during which there were no vaccinations against childhood diseases. The rate of decrease of deaths from 1940 through 1960 continues at about the same pace. Then, it starts to level out, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of children are vaccinated during this time.
Wow, hold on there. Infectious diseases leveled out by 1960s BECAUSE it's already so ****ing low. That's like 50 deaths or so out of 100000 PER YEAR! What were you expecting? Total eradication?
Now, take a look at the same graph showing the death rates from all causes. This should make you nervous. The rate of death from all disease decreases slightly from 1900 through 1920. However, after this, when vaccinations start to be introduced, the death rate from noninfectious causes starts to increase. It isn't a huge amount, but it's definitely there. Most significantly, the increase in death rate from noninfectious causes starts when vaccinations are introduced.
There is a slight rise from 1940s to 1960s, then it dropped again from 1960s from 1980s. However, this is overall mortality, NOT children's mortality. Unless you break down the number, you can't really say what is the 'cause' of this rise in mortality. Could be wider spread of travel and all that. Yet the author clearly meant to imply that vaccination is such a cause, and since vaccination is for children, the IMPLICATION is that the mortality is of children, but there is no data to support such a claim!
Then what was this author talking about? Nothing. He claims the conclusion was already "obvious".
Since it's obvious from the AMA's own documentation that vaccinations have little or no effect on the outcome of infectious disease deaths...
Based on what evidence? The author arbitrarily threw in "history of vaccination" and try to argue that "vaccination had no effect on mortality". What data did he provide to "prove" this? Absolutely NOTHING!
The main argument was that vaccinations happened during the 1960s, so there should be a further drop in mortality after the 60's and he doesn't see any.
However, perhaps we should look at the graph AGAIN... I took the SAME graph, and expanded the vertical axis 10X, and the second graph to the right. From 1960 to 1980, there was a significant drop in mortality due to infectious disease. It was low, and it *did* get lower.
Without vaccination the effects of hygiene would have stabilized by 1950s and 1960s. so the line would have gone FLAT, but it *did* keep falling.
Which blew the conclusions right out the window.
The author used the graph to make a FALSE point... by spinning the data one way. The conclusion uses the false point to perpetuate fear mongering.
So what was author's overall conclusion? The author basically claims that the medical industry is out to earn money.
As with any corporate-controlled business (and make no mistake, the medical industry is big business) the answer always goes back to the same thing: money. Filthy lucre. There are millions and billions of dollars, pounds, euros, and other currencies to be made by both the pharmaceutical firms and the doctors themselves.
This is an unsupported opinion, and is one of the primary falsehoods spread by vaccine refusal folks. Vaccines are usually ordered by governments at fixed prices, usually barely at cost. The prices are so low, only a few companies in the world bother making them. If it was so profitable for the makers, you'd think MORE people would get into the business!
And pharmaceutical firms make far more money from medicine than from vaccines. Just consider the following obvious fact that no vaccine refusalists will bother to mention... How much medicine do you take during your lifetime, vs. how many vaccines do you need during your lifetime? If pharmaceutical firms want to "rig" anything, it'd be the drugs, NOT the vaccines!
Vaccine Refusal uses bad science to perpetuate fear.
Herd Immunity is real, and NOT vaccinating your children not only hurts your children, it also have the potential of hurting OTHER children.
Upon closer examination, so-called evidence held out by vaccine refusalists to justify their refusal just do not hold up. It is bad science. It is pseudo-science.
The risks of not vaccinating your children vastly outweighs any risk of vaccinating them, and the protection extends to strangers as well.
Make the right choice.
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