If you ever find yourself part of a conversation when herd immunity and vaccines come up among folks with differing opinions, be sure to wear protective gear or just turn-tail and run the other direction. This is a hot and controversial topic – mainly because it's human lives at stake.
So what's all the fuss about herd immunity and vaccines?
Herd immunity, on a whole, is a theory that suggests that the more people are immune to an infectious agent, the less likely an individual is to come in contact with it and subsequently become infected. It has been referred to as a ‘human shield' against disease.
This is a great little video from OneMinuteMedicalSchool.com that explains the concept of herd immunity in a cute flow chart:
Super logical. Makes sense, right? But when it comes to vaccines, herd immunity is not as black and white as ‘Dr. Rob' illustrates above.
Back before we had vaccines, natural herd immunity would protect a population of people because once an individual contracted a particular strain of a virus, they would be immune for a lifetime. An adult who had chicken pox or measles as a child will receive natural immune ‘boosters' when exposed to their child or someone else with chicken pox.
Unlike natural immunity, vaccine-induced immunity doesn't have the same profile of benefits. A vaccine targets a specific strain or strains of a virus and only confers temporary protection against that strain (between 2-10 years depending on the specific illness).
Effective vaccine-induced herd immunity requires that the drug companies continue to churn out boosters so that the population can ward off illness. Furthermore, the individuals never build their own natural immune response. Studies show that in the case of pertussis and other infectious diseases, the organisms keep evolving to become more and more vaccine resistant – further requiring that drug companies come up with pharmaceutical solutions.
Those in favor of vaccine-induced herd immunity feel strongly that we don't have a choice, and that without vaccinations, diseases and epidemics would be running rampant.
Have vaccines really saved us from epidemic diseases?
The CDC presents this chart showing that the decline of diseases (in this case, incidents of measles) happened after the introduction of the vaccine.
However if you dial back a bit farther (below), you can see that deaths from measles were declining drastically over 60 years before the introduction of the vaccine. While these graphs are not a direct comparison, it is nonetheless interesting that the CDC chose to omit 1900-1950 from their graph.
There are similar graphs
Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a myth
Dr. Russell Blaylock MD, a retired neurosurgeon, explains why the blind-faith reliance on herd immunity is a mistake:
“That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply. When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50% or more of the population was unprotected for decades.
If we listen to present-day wisdom, we are all at risk of resurgent massive epidemics should the vaccination rate fall below 95%. Yet, we have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred.
Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.” (VaccineCouncil.org)
Are boosters the answer?
Even though we just covered the fact that vaccine-induced herd immunity is not helping us, many folks still believe that it's just a matter of time until the infectious pathogens take over and create wide-spread epidemics of disease. So perhaps we should all just get in line and get every booster shot the government mandates?
Did you know it currently costs about $2000 to vaccinate each child in the U.S. up to current standards? With 74 million kids and growing, vaccines are big business for pharmaceutical companies.
Did you know that the varicella vaccine was initially developed solely for the benefit of immune-compromised children to prevent death from an otherwise minimally harmful childhood illness (chicken pox)? Not much money in that, so Merck decided that every child should have the benefit of said protection. (source)
Who really wants to get chicken pox any way? When young children don't naturally get chicken pox, they are much more susceptible to the much more dangerous shingles virus when they are older children and adults – – specifically 20 times more risk of death and 15 times more risk of hospitalization. And guess who's got the vaccine (and boosters) for that. Yep – Merck saves the day (and makes the bucks). (source)
I don't know about you, but I'm not really interested in ‘protecting' my child so that big-pharma can benefit.
So, in summary…
Vaccine-induced immunity only provides temporary protection (when it works at all). Vaccines have not been responsible for eradicating infectious disease from the planet, but if you fund the drug companies and get lots of booster shots your entire life, maybe, just maybe you won't get the virus you've vaccinated against. Then again, you may be severely immune compromised. But that's a different post for a different day.
Thankfully, the decision whether or not to vaccinate yourself and your children is still in your hands.
If you are interested in ways to fortify your immune system, read this post on immune boosting foods and this one about immune boosting supplements. I also highly recommend that you work with a qualified holistic health practitioner that can help you to navigate the best ways to care for yourself and your family naturally.
Have you felt pressured into vaccines for the good of the herd?