Herd immunity or community immunity is the resistance of a certain population group to an outbreak of a contagious disease if most of the members have secured immune resistance. It is aimed at reducing the risk of spreading the disease and saving people’s lives.
Initially, the concept of herd immunity was not associated with vaccines. It originated when statisticians noticed a protective effect after a great number of people had had a certain disease and got natural immune resistance. Hereupon, researchers threw out a suggestion that postvaccinal immunity can have the same result, as the transmission of a disease from an infected person gets unlikely after the vaccination of the others.
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Herd immunity is of vital importance nowadays since a high threshold of those who are immune to certain diseases results in a barrier with a protective effect. An unvaccinated group is very susceptible to such diseases as measles, mumps, pneumococcal disease, flu or rotavirus, and they are easily infected as they lack immunity. Pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised patients and some other vulnerable groups are not eligible for vaccines of certain types. Nevertheless, they get protected, since there is a fair chance of an outbreak providing that a large proportion of the community is immunized. If lots of people are resistant to a disease, either having a natural or postvaccinal immunity, the probability of a susceptible person getting in contact with an infected one is insignificant.
The idea of community immunity is an absolutely plausible one supported by numerous studies and observations. Some people are opposed to vaccination; however, it is not reasonable to toss away the argument that herd immunity is effective at stopping the progression of diseases. It is a shield for those who lack individual immunity and an effective way to eradicate or control serious contagious diseases.
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