(immunology) Immunity of a sufficient number of individuals in a population such that infection of one individual will not result in an epidemic. [Think for a minute. Everyone is vaccinated. Everyone. The vaccine does not prevent anyone from getting the disease. It can only help them become less sick from it. And that is if it works perfectly. - bfg]
"Herd" immunity is a theory which purports to explain how an entire group can be protected from disease. It is thought to result in protection of everyone once a magic percentage of vaccinated or otherwise immune individuals is reached, by preventing transmission of the virus to those who remain "unprotected", either because a vaccine didn't happen to work for them, or was too risky in their case.
It relies on getting as high a percentage vaccinated as possible, which means requiring that everyone who doesn't have an obvious contraindication to getting a vaccine, be vaccinated.
However, it is ironic and worth noting that it is the failure of vaccination, not its success, which is used as justification for requiring its use. Thus, children attending school are required to get vaccinations, whether their parents want them to or not, whether it is personally good for them or not, simply because vaccination doesn't always work. This, all in the name of "herd immunity".
Notwithstanding the questionable validity of using the weakness of a product as justification for forcing it on people (more on that another time), and whether or not there is any justice in forcing someone to potentially sacrifice their own health in order to "protect" someone else's, there seem to be problems with the theory itself, i.e., the notion that if you reach a high enough percentage that is vaccinated, a "herd immunity" will result.
One of those potential problems is that outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated populations, including those documented to be 100% vaccinated.
If the "herd" cannot be protected with 100% vaccination rates, maybe there is something wrong with the theory.
Another possible problem is that vaccines often do not prevent transmission, instead merely preventing full-blown cases of disease (i.e., causing mild or subclinical cases). In fact, circulating virus is known to boost the immunity of the vaccinated (and perhaps even those naturally immune), thereby prolonging the apparent effectiveness of the vaccine (and maybe even natural immunity). In the absence of circulating disease, vaccine-induced immunity is more likely to wane, and boosters will be required. In any event, it is hard to understand how something which does not necessarily prevent transmission can result in immunity for the "herd".
If circulation of disease cannot always be prevented by vaccination, and instead merely drives it underground in the guise of mild or subclinical cases, can "herd immunity" be counted on to work?
Is one of the reasons outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated populations because vaccines are not as effective as we have been led to believe? Are the methods currently used to measure/determine immunity inadequate or flawed?
How valid is the justification for mandating vaccination, given what appears to be some evidence against the theory used to support that policy?
Look for the next Scandals on Friday, July 12, 2002.
©Copyright 2001-2002 by Sandy Mintz. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full ONLY with copyright, contact, creation, authorship, and information intact (including all links), without specific permission, and ONLY when used in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Sandy Mintz is required.
“Oh well, she’s lucky as she has herd immunity from the vaccinated children to protect her!”
She then went on to say that not everyone had the luxury of my decision because if less than 95% of children were vaccinated, then it wouldn’t work anymore. I thought this was a silly concept because if vaccination truly worked, then any child who was vaccinated would be protected from disease, no matter how many ‘infectious’ unvaccinated kids there were, and if the 95% herd immunity figure was a genuine argument, it only points to one thing: the medical profession don’t really believe in the effectiveness of their own vaccines.
immunity theory was originally coined in 1933 by a
researcher called Hedrich.
been studying measles patterns in the US between 1900-1931
(years before any vaccine was ever invented for measles)
and he observed that epidemics of the illness only
occurred when less than 68% of children had developed a
natural immunity to it. This was based upon the principle
that children build their own immunity after suffering
with or being exposed to the disease.
So the herd
immunity theory was, in fact, about natural disease
processes and nothing to do with vaccination.
If 68% of the population were allowed to build their own
natural defences, there would be no raging epidemic.
adopted the phrase and increased the figure from 68% to
95% with no scientific justification as to why,
and then stated that there had to be 95% vaccine coverage
to achieve immunity. Essentially, they took Hedrich’s
study and manipulated it to promote their vaccination
(MONTHLY ESTIMATES OF THE CHILD POPULATION "SUSCEPTIBLE' TO MEASLES, 1900-1931, BALTIMORE, MD, AW HEDRICH, American Journal of Epidemiology, May 1933 - Oxford University Press).
Why Vaccine Induced Herd Immunity is Flawed
If vaccination really immunises, then your vaccinated child will be immunised and therefore protected against any disease an unvaccinated child gets. If he isn’t, his shots didn’t work. We should also examine whether or not the vaccines actually do provide immunity and in which populations epidemics occurred. Was it the unvaccinated children spreading disease as they would have parents believe? Or were those epidemics already in previously vaccinated people? To do this I have listed several epidemics that have occurred in the last 100 years or so, including Smallpox, which medics claim that vaccination eradicated.
There was a Smallpox epidemic in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1924. This epidemic was started by a mandatory vaccination campaign in which people were imprisoned if they refused the shot. A health club then started a suit against Dr. Voux, who had headed the vaccination drive, for bringing disease upon the people. Legal council for the health club stated: ‘There have been NO deaths from Smallpox in Pittsburgh during the previous nine years from 1915 to 1924, including the years when there was no vaccination or re-vaccination, at all – and hence, no vaccine immunity.’ They pointed out that the vaccine campaign had caused 22 deaths and 112 cases of vaccine-induced Smallpox. (You can read a detailed history of vaccination in Eleanor McBean’s book, Vaccination Condemned, Better Life Research, 1981).
In Germany between 1947-1974, there were ten outbreaks of Smallpox including 94 people who had been previously ‘immunised’, who then became ill with the disease. (The Vaccination Nonsense, 2004 lectures, Dr. Gerhard Buchwald).
Here are some more recent epidemics in vaccinated populations: In March 2006, 245 cases of mumps were confirmed in Iowa, US, where the law requires vaccination for school entry. Eleven year-old Will Hean of Davenport was diagnosed with mumps, and his 21 year old sister Kate. Both children had gotten the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR. “He had all the shots and everything. You don’t think you’re going to get the mumps after you’ve been inoculated,” said Will’s father, Wayne Hean. (2006, The Associated Press).
In 2002 an outbreak of Varicella (Chickenpox) occurred in a US daycare centre for fully vaccinated children. Varicella developed in 25 of 88 children (28.4 percent) between December 1, 2000, and January 11, 2001. A case occurred in a healthy child who had been vaccinated three years previously and who infected more than 50 percent of his classmates who had no history of varicella. The effectiveness of the vaccine was 44.0 percent against disease of any severity. Children who had been vaccinated three years or more before the outbreak were at greater risk for vaccine failure than those who had been vaccinated more recently. Conclusions: In this outbreak, vaccination provided poor protection against varicella. Longer interval since vaccination was associated with an increased risk of vaccine failure. Breakthrough infections in vaccinated, healthy persons can be as infectious as varicella in unvaccinated persons. (Outbreak of Varicella at a Day-Care Centre despite Vaccination) 2002 Karin Galil, M.D., M.P.H., Brent Lee, M.D., M.P.H., Tara Strine, M.P.H., Claire Carraher, R.N., Andrew L. Baughman, Ph.D., M.P.H., Melinda Eaton, D.V.M., Jose Montero, M.D., and Jane Seward, M.B., B.S., M.P.H.).
And here’s some vaccine failures for measles: Five cases of measles secondary vaccine failure with confirmed seroconversion after live measles vaccination. (Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Disease vol. 29, no. 2, 1997, pp.187-90): Two, five, seven and twelve years after vaccination with further attenuated live measles vaccine, three of five patients experienced modified measles infection, and the remaining two had typical measles. "This may be the first SVF case report that confirms the existence of completely waning immunity in recipients of the further attenuated live measles vaccines."
And Whooping Cough: Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol. 179, April 1999; 915-923. Temporal trends in the population structure of bordetella pertussis during 1949-1996 in a highly vaccinated population- "Despite the introduction of large-scale pertussis vaccination in 1953 and high vaccination coverage, pertussis is still an endemic disease in The Netherlands, with epidemic outbreaks occurring every 3-5 years." One factor that might contribute to this is the ability of pertussis strains to adapt to vaccine-induced immunity, causing new strains of pertussis to re-emerge in this well-vaccinated population.
Just recently, Dr. Kari Simonsen, a pediatrician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA, said one in five children who are vaccinated for whooping cough will still get the disease. She said efficacy of the vaccine was 'comparatively low', but said
'It's the best vaccine we can build to date.' Despite admitting this, she still believes that parents should get the vaccine for their children.
At St. Robert Bellarmine School in west Omaha, 12 children had confirmed whooping cough, of those, most had been vaccinated.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday that the state has had 117 confirmed cases this year, up from 70 all of last year and 99 in 2006. There were 312 cases in Nebraska in 2005.
In Douglas County, 48 cases have been reported this year. Last year, 21 cases were reported.
This is in a country that gives five doses of the vaccine in the first four years of life and then another dose at 11 years of age!
(Omaha World Herald, 'Vaccine Didn't Stop Whooping Cough', 31st October 2008).
Victor Plotkin - an epidemiologist from Lake County in the US has reported that there have been 82 cases of pertussis in the county so far this year.
'Plotkin said the county did see very high numbers of cases during a nationwide outbreak of pertussis in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, there were 152 cases of pertussis and 135 cases in 2005. However, before that, pertussis cases in the county had averaged about 8 to 10 a year for many years.
Plotkin said the 2004 and 2005 pertussis outbreak appears that it may have been attributed to waning immunity among older children and adults who had not received booster shots. He said the most recent outbreak is a bit more puzzling because many of the children who are becoming ill are younger children who were recently vaccinated.
"Unfortunately, during this outbreak, even people that have been recently vaccinated are becoming sick anyway," he said. "Their symptoms are milder, but they still can pass the bacteria along to others and make others sick."
(Whooping Cough Increases in Lake County - the Vernon Hills Review 20th November 2008).
So What Happens if People don’t Vaccinate?
Are the unvaccinated really infectious?
According to Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol. 59, no. 2, February 1984, pp. 162-5): ‘Severity of whooping cough in England before and after the decline in pertussis immunisation’, "Since the decline of pertussis immunisation, hospital admission and death rates from whooping cough have fallen unexpectedly… The severity of attacks and the complication rates in children [who were] admitted to hospital were virtually unchanged. – i.e. hospital admissions and death rates reduced when people WEREN’T getting vaccinated, meaning that avoiding shots is actually good for your child’s health and may save his life, and in those cases which were admitted to hospital, there were no increased complications in the unvaccinated group. Basically, at best the shots don’t make a difference and at worse, they kill or disable. But there has never been one double-blind controlled study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children. Why? The medical profession say it is unethical to withhold vaccination from children. Therefore they cannot gain an accurate indication of what health is because everyone is getting the shots and suffering colds, ear infections, eczema, asthma and there is nothing to compare it with. If they did do a study, they would undoubtedly find the unvaccinated are healthier and maybe that it why they refuse.
Not one of my four daughters ever suffered from any of the common childhood ailments that so many of their friends did. Whilst all the babies in the nursery were catching colds every other week, my baby was happy and healthy. “She’s got an excellent immune system even though she’s never been vaccinated”, remarked the health visitor at her check. ”No” I corrected, “She has an excellent immune system BECAUSE she’s never been vaccinated.”
Another myth is that vaccines provide long-term, even lifetime, protection. Linked with this is the grand deception of “herd immunity.” Herd immunity is based on the idea that if 80% of a population is successfully immunized against a disease, then the rest of the population is protected against an epidemic. Likewise, immunization rates below this level endanger us all.
We are now living in the age of mass retirement of the baby boomers, my generation. As children, we were immunized against smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, and a few others of the potentially epidemic diseases. Therefore, the vaccine proponents imply that we have been free of epidemics of these diseases because of “herd immunity,” that is, that 80% of the population (most of who are in my generation) remains immune.
A number of new studies have shown that in fact immunity from these vaccines lasts only 3 to 10 years at best (some studies indicate shorter periods of 3 to 4 years). That means that while most of us thought we were immunized, in fact, the vast majority of this nation has no immune protection remaining from the vaccines. It also means that far below 80% of the nation is presently protected from infections by these agents. This means that for the past 40 years or more we have been, according to the health authorities, living without the protection of “herd immunity.”
Silently, these vaccine promoters have conducted studies, which have shown that even today our children’s vaccines are lasting no more than 4 years. In fact, they are suggesting that all children receive booster vaccines every 4 years. This means that for the past several decades even the children have been without protection from these vaccines – i.e., vaccine policy has, and continues to be, predicated on a grand lie.
Source: The Danger of Overvaccination with the Present Vaccine Policy by Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.
Today in both the US and Australia (the
only countries whose statistics I am familiar enough with
to make this comment) though vaccination against whooping
cough is in excess of the rates postulated to represent
herd immunity - when we have been told that there will be
no disease at all - we have more cases of whooping cough
per capita then at any time since prior to mass
vaccination campaigns began.
Now, if whooping cough vaccination provided even MINIMAL protection from the disease, we would expect to have seen a decline in incidence. Instead, we have seen incidence shoot up.
This is because vaccines only produce antibodies - and as has been said many times - antibodies do not equal immunity.
Herd immunity has nothing to do with vaccination and will never mean the end of disease - it is only a term meant to indicate that there are either more or less susceptible individuals in the 'herd' being studied.
And as an interesting side note - one effect that vaccinations have had on the herd immunity has been to shorten the inter-epidemic period between outbreaks. These used to occur with most childhood diseases in 3-5 year cycles. That cycle has now been shortened for most of these illnesses to 2-3 years apart. Great job vaccine! NOT!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 2.1% of adults aged 18 to 64 are immunized against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, even though since 2006 there has been a combination vaccine that can protect against all three. [note: pertussis vaccine was contraindicated in people over 7 years of age for about 50 years]
This small percentage of adequately immunized adults is well below the “herd immunity” threshold. So why aren’t there outbreaks of disease all over the place? While this article focused on pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus - what about the others? Measles seems to be the most feared disease of late, why aren’t there outbreaks among adult populations of the herd that are spreading like wildfire with this ludicrously low percentage of vaccinated adults? I’ve already shown where vaccinated people shed measles, just like an infected person would - so why aren’t people falling over ill from the measles?
Ponder this: your neighbor’s child was vaccinated with the MMR, then went through a shedding period in which he exposed your child to mealses, but your child showed no symptoms, or very minor cold-like symptoms. Could it possibly be that your child mounted an immune response without a vaccine (gasp!)? Where’s the herd immunity in THIS disease transmission (which is okay by the way, it’s only bad when unvaccinated people spread disease)? Perhaps it’s trying to surface already, WITHOUT intervention.
This brings me to secondary vaccine failure, or “waning immunity”. A simple search in the literature brings up scores and scores of instances where this occurs. Pay close attention to this abstract:
A prolonged school-based outbreak of measles provided an opportunity to study “vaccine-modified” mild measles and secondary vaccine failure. Thirty-six (97%) of 37 unvaccinated patients had rash illnesses that met the Centers for Disease Control clinical case definition of measles, but 29 (15%) of 198 vaccinated patients did not, primarily because of low-grade or absent fever. Of 122 patients with seroconfirmed measles, 10 patients (all previously vaccinated) had no detectable measles-specific IgM and significantly milder illness than either vaccinated or unvaccinated patients with IgM-positive serum. Of 108 vaccinated patients with seroconfirmed measles, 17 patients (16%) had IgM-negative serology or rash illnesses that failed to meet the clinical case definition; their mean age (13 years), age at the time of vaccination, and time since vaccination did not differ from those of other vaccinated patients. The occurrence of secondary vaccine failure and vaccine-modified measles does not appear to be a major impediment to measles control in the United States but may lead to underreporting of measles cases and result in overestimation of vaccine efficacy in highly vaccinated populations.
The journals are riddled with this kind of documentation. This clearly demonstrates that antibody presence is not only meaningless, it is absolutely no measure of how well the host will deal with either natural or vaccine induced exposure to disease. Not to mention it is an admission of poor disease incidence reporting because there is no way to know how many measles cases there are period. What else it demonstrates, considering this failure was not associated with an importation, is that this outbreak was started by a vaccinated person – hence the clever use of “vaccine-modified” measles. Otherwise, they would have isolated a genotype to a strain that is not endemic to the US and very likely found some unvaccinated person to blame the spread of the virus on and broadcast it in the journals and across the globe much like they did here.
Fact is, this is an abused term that has never been proven - if anything, it’s been disproven by the outbreaks that occur within vaccinated populations. In animal models, during challenge, they measure immunity by when the animal ceases to exhibit symptoms and record the serological results accordingly. They most certainly do not measure harm, and they definitely do not evaluate the damage done to the nervous system. So when someone like Amanda Peet calls other parents parasites for logically evaluating the available literature and deciding to wait or forego vaccines, it makes me wonder what sort of vaccine damage she may have herself.
The simple picture: “if you are vaccinated you can neither catch nor spread the disease in question” turns out to largely be a overly simplistic fallacy, mostly useful for attacking parents who are perceived to be failing to contribute towards herd immunity because they chose not to vaccinate their children.
While some might ask the question, “How about a vaccination policy based on real scientific facts, for a change?” others might also ask a different question, which is, “Are the facts presented today, to justify new vaccines being introduced, and extending existing childhood vaccines into adult schedules, based on better logic than the CDC “experts” proclaimed in 1966?”
...[from a comment]
Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (1984 - Vol. 120, No. 1: 39-48) regarding Measles: “A computer model was created to study the effect of the measles elimination program in the United States on the number of susceptibles in the population. The simulation reveals that in the pre-vaccine era, approximately 10.6% of the population was susceptible to measles, most of whom were children less than 10 years of age. With the institution of the measles immunization program, the proportion of susceptibles in the population fell to 3.1% from 1978 through 1981, but then began to rise by approximately 0.1% per year to reach about 10.9% in the year 2050. The susceptibies at this time were distributed evenly throughout all age groups. The model did not consider the potential effect of waning immunity.” The article concludes with this “However, despite short-term success in eliminating the disease, long-range projections demonstrate that the proportion of susceptibies in the year 2050 may be greater than in the pre-vaccine era. Present vaccine technology and public health policy must be altered to deal with this eventuality.” So the end result will be the same number (or more) of susceptibles, but “distributed evenly throughout all age groups”. Since adults and infants have higher risk of Measles complications and fatality, the Measles eradication plan has resulted in higher risk to the overall population. Obviously the public health policy solution is more and more vaccination, more boosters for children and adolescents, and adults as well. A very short-sighted, questionable and expensive campaign to eliminate a self-limiting childhood disease.
...This problem makes the above mentioned Time magazine figures about the level of coverage of the US kindergarten population a moot point. 77% of the kindergarten population MAY have temporary immunity, but not 77% of the overall population.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1035169 - [Good article- go to site to read it all - bfg]
Herd Immunity Illusion II - If you believe an unvaccinated child is a danger to yours, then so are your parents, grandparents, older aunts and uncles and society in general. Why? Because what is being vaccinated for now, wasn’t then, so they are not part of the ‘herd immunity’ either.
Herd Immunity-An Illusion
- Think about this: If 80% of people are vaccinated,
and 75% have immunity for only 5-8 years from one or more
vaccines, what happens in the consequent years? Now, let’s
say they get boosters after 7 years and then have immunity
for a total of 14 years. What about the remaining 70 some