Be part of the herd and contribute to community immunity with vaccinations
GEHA | November 11, 2020
You may have heard some talk about herd immunity recently. Also known as community immunity, this occurs when enough of a population is immune (often through vaccination) to an infectious disease that the chances of it spreading from person to person is very low. With herd immunity, everyone has some protection from the disease because it has such a small chance of growing.
Polio, mumps, measles and diphtheria are just some of the diseases nearly eradicated because of dedicated efforts by health officials to distribute and administer vaccines. These successful efforts result in herd immunity.
While everyone enjoys the protection of herd immunity, you play an important role in keeping yourself, your children and others safe. Many diseases still flourish outside of community immunity. The more contagious a disease, the more people need to be vaccinated against it.
Vaccinations start shortly after a baby is born. This is because their immune systems have not yet developed the defenses to fight serious infections.
The best way to make sure your child gets the vaccinations she or he needs at the right time is to stick to the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization timeline. If you forgot what vaccines your child received, your doctor can guide you through the process and get you back on schedule. A chart of the recommended vaccination timeline is shown below (or may be downloaded as a PDF).
“Community immunity: How vaccines protect us all.” newsinhealth.nih.gov, National Institutes of Health, October, 2011.
“Vaccines and Immunizations: Glossary.” cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control, 30 July, 2020.
“Vaccines protect your community.” vaccinies.gov, the Department of Health and Human Services, February, 2020.
“Vaccines and Immunizations: Why are childhood vaccinations so important?” cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control, 16 May, 2018.
“Vaccines for infants, children and teens.” vaccines.gov, the Department of Health and Human Services, March, 2020.