Herd Immunity and Unvaccinated Children
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|Sun, 01-11-2009 - 8:49pm|
Some info to read over and maybe debate a bit. :)
If the word "vaccine" immediately strikes fear in your heart, then you likely came of age not in a time dominated by worries about polio, but in a time when vaccines make news because of side effects ranging from mild irritation to death. The most notable example is probably the debate regarding the claim (not supported by any scientific studies thus far) that the thimerosal in certain childhood vaccines may have led to an increase in autism. These days, the public has serious doubts about whether it's worth protecting herd immunity at the cost of exposing children to these risks.
That means that levels of vaccinations have dropped dramatically, particularly in certain parts of the United States where exemption from vaccinations is granted for religious, philosophical or personal reasons. In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that while 90 percent of all American children had received most of the necessary vaccinations, about 1 percent of all children hadn't received any shots .
Parents who forego vaccinations can rely on herd immunity -- for now. Children who aren't immunized are protected by the children that did get vaccinations; some parents who did take the risk of a vaccination, however, consider this freeloading . However, as vaccination rates drop, the safety of the herd, particularly its weakest members, can become compromised.