When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease. This is known as “community (or ‘herd’) immunity.” The principle of community immunity applies to control of a variety of contagious diseases, including influenza, measles, mumps, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.
The top box depicts a community in which no one is immunized and an outbreak occurs. In the middle box, some of the population is immunized but not enough to confer community immunity. In the bottom box, a critical portion of the population is immunized, protecting most community members.
“In a world where the underprivileged may trudge miles to the nearest clinic, desperate to save their babies from infectious scourges, nothing communicates the unbelievable wealth, ease and selfishness of modern American life like refusing the very same vaccines.” – Amy Tuteur, MD
“This is what is comes down to for most anti-vax parents: it’s a source of self-esteem for them. In their minds, they have “educated” themselves. How do they know they are “educated”? Because they’ve chosen to disregard experts (who appear to them as authority figures) in favor of quacks and charlatans, whom they admire for their own defiance of authority. The combination of self-education and defiance of authority is viewed by anti-vax parents as an empowering form of rugged individualism, marking out their own superiority from those pathetic “sheeple” who aren’t self-educated and who follow authority.” – Amy Tuteur, MD, “What everyone gets wrong about anti-vaccine parents”