Herd Immunity

What are ways you can keep others from getting sick? 


While staying home when sick and good hygiene are important, vaccines play a critical role in keeping whole groups healthy. Not only do vaccines protect individuals, but they also protect communities. When individuals stay healthy, they do not spread germs to others. Herd immunity allows vaccines to protect those who might be too young or have health conditions that prevent them from receiving vaccines.  

"If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination."

-Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation

Understanding Community Spread

Herd immunity is a critical step in controlling germs. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical research institutes created graphics and videos to explain why herd immunity was unable to stop the pandemic.

 

With the introduction of vaccines, herd immunity will become once again possible. As many people as possible must be vaccinated for herd immunity to work, but soon, vulnerable individuals will be protected.  

Graphic from Johns Hopkins Medicine 

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"Vaccination works by enlisting a majority in the protection of a minority."

-Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation

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The Importance of Healthcare Workers

While vaccines and herd immunity save lives, doctors, nurses, and a robust healthcare network are key to ensuring this system works. Healthcare workers need strong workplace support to complete their stressful jobs. Patients need insurance and other financial resources to pay for their care. Scientists must complete research to stay on top of new and mutating viruses.

Without healthcare workers, who would administer vaccines to make herd immunity possible? 

Photograph from the Cleveland Clinic