February 5, 2019 – Herd Helps


Anchor lead: For those unable to receive vaccines, herd immunity really helps, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Herd immunity is the phenomenon where when the majority are vaccinated against an infectious disease, it protects even those who aren’t vaccinated. Now a new study shows herd immunity impacting on HPV infection. Maria Trent, an adolescent medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Trent: If we have everyone in society get immunized to something, and then there’s one person who say can’t get the vaccine, if everybody else is immune and are not getting the infection, we protect that person in our society who can’t get it, and so they looked at a large group of young women who had been immunized and they looked at those people who were not immunized, and they found that there was a reduction overall in HPV related disease in the people who’d been immunized but they also saw that amongst those who had not been immunized for whatever reason, there was a reduction in disease. :30

Trent notes that relying on herd immunity isn’t a good personal health strategy, and that everyone who can be immunized should do so for the benefit of all. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.