Dr. Bob Sears, who actually wrote a book about vaccines, seems to think that he and his podcasting sidekick have put the nail in the coffin “of trying to use the herd immunity argument to justify coerced vaccinated.”
The meme he shared even includes the hashtag stating that herd immunity doesn’t apply to vaccines.
Dr. Bob Puts the Nail in the Coffin of the Herd Immunity Argument
While arguing against the idea of herd immunity and for coerced vaccination are common among anti-vaccine folks, neither is true.
Herd immunity is real and no-one is going to force anyone to vaccinate their kids. Vaccine mandates do not mean forced vaccination.
What about the idea that “all vaccines wane within about 2-15 years, leaving vaccinated children & adults unprotected?”
If that were true, then wouldn’t everyone who got sick in latest outbreaks be vaccinated? Why are most folks unvaccinated?
While waning immunity is an issue for some vaccines, like mumps and pertussis, the primary and secondary failure rates are still not as bad as Dr. Bob suggests, which is why, in an outbreak, the attack rate of disease is always higher among those who are unvaccinated and unprotected.
Is herd immunity the main argument that’s made when experts suggest we need stronger vaccine laws? I always thought the main argument is that folks should just vaccinate and protect their kids, but maintaining herd immunity so that your intentionally unvaccinated kids don’t put everyone else at risk is a good reason too.
Does everyone see the problem with Melissa Floyd’s math? This probably won’t be on the SAT, but you still want to get this right…
Like many others are doing right now, she used state level data. Since many of the folks who don’t vaccinate their kids cluster together in the same communities and schools, the “2% of those filing for exemptions” end up making up 10, 20, or even 30% of some school’s student population.
“This means if you are a primary non-responder, you are walking around every day with a false sense of security, clinically unvaccinated for that particular disease.”Melissa Floyd
This is the whole point of herd immunity!
Because vaccines aren’t 100% effective, we can walk around all day without actually thinking about it much, hoping that we can rely on the fact that most other people are also vaccinated and protected. That keeps disease out of our community or herd.
The system typically breaks down though, not because vaccines aren’t effective enough, but because too many folks don’t get vaccinated.
“A 2011 article in “Vaccines”, edited by Stanley Plotkin, says, “Much of the early theoretical work on herd immunity assumed that vaccines induced solid immunity against infection…” Theoretical… Assumed…”Melissa Floyd
She should have read the whole article, or at least used the whole quote…
“Much of the early theoretical work on herd immunity assumed that vaccines induce solid immunity against infection and that populations mix at random, consistent with the simple herd immunity threshold for random vaccination of Vc = (1-1/R0), using the symbol Vc for the critical minimum proportion to be vaccinated (assuming 100% vaccine effectiveness). More recent research has addressed the complexities of imperfect immunity, heterogeneous populations, nonrandom vaccination, and freeloaders.”Herd Immunity: A Rough Guide
It doesn’t say what she thinks it says…
“Indeed, one might argue that herd immunity, in the final analysis, is about protecting society itself.”Herd Immunity: A Rough Guide
So why haven’t we eradicated measles like we said we would?
“What’s funny is after the measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, the medical community declared a goal of eradicating measles by 1967. But 1967 came and went and it still wasn’t gone, 1977, 1987, 2000… the dates kept getting pushed, and the result was always the same. Meanwhile they continued to increase the hypothesized “herd immunity threshold”, eventually winding up at the extremely high 95% you hear today. “Melissa Floyd
That’s actually a good question.
What happened to the previous goals of eliminating measles?
“In 1966, the USA began an effort to eradicate the disease within its own borders. After a series of successes and setbacks, in 2000, 34 years after the initial goal was announced, measles was declared no longer to be endemic in the USA.”Orenstein et al on Eradicating measles: a feasible goal?
Along the way, we have gone from an estimated 100 million cases and 5.8 million deaths in 1980 and an estimated 44 million cases and 1.1 deaths in 1995 to “just” 7 million cases and 89,780 deaths in 2016.
“Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020.”Measles
While there is doubt that we can truly eradicate measles with the current vaccine, we can certainly control and eliminate measles if folks stop listening to anti-vaccine propaganda and they get vaccinated and protected.
More on Dr. Bob and His Herd Immunity Arguments
- VAXOPEDIA – Did Dr. Bob Uncover a CDC Plot to Give Adult Flu Shots to Babies?
- VAXOPEDIA – Measles Propaganda from The Physicians for Informed Consent
- VAXOPEDIA – More Measles Hysteria From Bob Sears
- VAXOPEDIA – Were More Than Half of the Kids with Severe or Fatal Influenza in California Last Year Vaccinated?
- VAXOPEDIA – What Is the Evidence for Alternative Vaccine Schedules?
- VAXOPEDIA – Challenging the Concept of Herd Immunity
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Are We Worried About 60,000 Unvaccinated Kids?
- VAXOPEDIA – Which Vaccines Don’t Prevent the Spread of a Disease?
- VAXOPEDIA – Did Gregory Poland Really Say That MMR Vaccines Can’t Prevent Measles Outbreaks?
- WHO – Measles
- ‘‘Herd Immunity’’: A Rough Guide
- Eradicating measles: a feasible goal?
- MMWR – Measles Eradication: Recommendations from a Meeting Cosponsored by the World HealthOrganization, the Pan American Health Organization, and CDC
- The Re-Emergence of Measles in Developed Countries: Time to Develop the Next-Generation Measles Vaccines?
- Vaccine Researcher Gregory Poland Says Measles Jab Is Amazingly Effective But Not Perfect
- The Anti-vaxxers Might Wish that What was Lost had not been Found
1 thought on “Dr. Bob Puts the Nail in the Coffin of the Herd Immunity Argument”
I hate that he lives in my hometown. Argh. 2. Melissa cannot do math. I have said this for years.