‘Vaccination is an individual right and a shared responsibility.’ That’s the focus of the 2018 European Immunization Week, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Ensuring access to immunisation services is essential to controlling preventable diseases. But why is ‘shared responsibility’ in the spotlight?
Central to this idea is the scientific concept of ‘herd immunity’, sometimes called ‘community immunity’. This explains how we can stop the spread of disease by maintaining high levels of immunisation.
For example, if 95% of people in a community have two doses of the MMR vaccine, measles outbreaks can be prevented. As some people are too sick or too young to be vaccinated, it is essential that the rest of us play our part in protecting them.
To help explain this idea, we’ve collected some of the top YouTube videos on herd immunity.
1. A short and sweet intro from Immunize Canada
2. A more in-depth look at how infectious diseases spread and how this relates to herd immunity
3. The Oxford Vaccine Group says some people think they can take a ‘free ride’ by relying on herd immunity provided by others in their community. They explain why this is scientifically – and ethically – a bad choice
4. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), a leading scientific publication, has created a short overview of the scientific evidence for herd immunity in measles. It looks at how the Amish community, where routine vaccination rates are low, are exposed when measles begins to circulate in their community.
5. This unique communication approach uses Gummy Bears to illustrate the concept.
And finally…we cannot resist sharing our own Vaccines Today ‘What is Herd Immunity?’ video. This animation is now six years old but still our most popular video ever.
And, as a little European Immunization Week bonus for our Francophone friends, here it is in French
Let us know your favourites in the comments section below or on our social media channels.