Okay, so Science Based Medicine is on a roll today. In¬†an article by Joseph Albeitz entitled Can We Hide In The Herd, he gives a breakdown of what herd immunity is and how it works. Without properly understanding it, a lot of people are choosing not to immunize against a variety of diseases because they don’t kill anyone anymore, but the concept of herd immunity isn’t a get out of jail free card. One clear example of this is the story of Dana McCaffery, a four week old baby too young to be vaccinated against pertussis¬†(whooping cough). All newborns must rely on herd immunity, and an outbreak of whooping cough in her area brought about by the effective anti-vax campaigns in Australia resulted in her death.
Dr. Albeitz clears away some of the false ideas we have about herd immunity, and explains very effectively why it’s a good thing and why abusing it is dangerous not just to newborns and chemo patients, but to the unvaccinated on the whole.