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Vaccines and the Myth of “Herd Immunity”

Forced Vaccinations, Government, and the Public Interest

By Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.
December 2009

Those who are observant have noticed a dangerous trend in the United States, as well as worldwide, and that is the resorting of various governments at different levels to mandating forced vaccination upon the public at large. My State of Mississippi has one of the most-restrictive vaccine-exemption laws in the United States, where exemptions are allowed only upon medical recommendation. Ironically, this is only on paper, as many have had as many as three physicians, some experts in neurological damage caused by vaccines, provide written calls for exemption, only to be turned down by the State’s public-health officer.

Worse are the States, such as Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, where forced vaccinations have either been mandated by the courts, the state legislature, or have such legislation pending. All of such policies strongly resemble those policies found in National Socialist empires, Stalinist countries, or Communist China.

When public-health officers are asked for the legal justification for such draconian measures as forcing people to accept vaccines that they deem either a clear and present danger to themselves and their loved ones or have had personal experience with serious adverse reactions to such vaccines, they usually resort to the need to protect the public.

One quickly concludes that if the vaccines are as effective as being touted by the public-health officials, then why should one fear the unvaccinated? Obviously the vaccinated would have at least 95% protection. This question puts them in a very difficult position. Their usual response is that a “small” percentage of the vaccinated will not have sufficient protection and would still be at risk. Now, if they admit what the literature shows, that vaccine failure rates are much higher than the 5% they claim, they must face the next obvious question – then why should anyone take the vaccine if there is a significant chance it will not protect?

When pressed further, they then resort to their favorite justification, the Holy Grail of the vaccine proponents – herd immunity. This concept is based upon the idea that 95% (and some now say 100%) of the population must be vaccinated to prevent an epidemic. The percentages needing vaccination grows progressively. I pondered this question for some time before the answer hit me. Herd immunity is mostly a myth and applies only to natural immunity – that is, contracting the infection itself.

Is Herd Immunity Real?

In the original description of herd immunity, the protection to the population at large occurred only if people contracted the infections naturally. The reason for this is that naturally-acquired immunity lasts for a lifetime. The vaccine proponents quickly latched onto this concept and applied it to vaccine-induced immunity. But, there was one major problem – vaccine-induced immunity lasted for only a relatively short period, from 2 to 10 years at most, and then this applies only to humoral immunity. This is why they began, silently, to suggest boosters for most vaccines, even the common childhood infections such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella.

Then they discovered an even greater problem, the boosters were lasting for only 2 years or less. This is why we are now seeing mandates that youth entering colleges have multiple vaccines, even those which they insisted gave lifelong immunity, such as the MMR. The same is being suggested for full-grown adults. Ironically, no one in the media or medical field is asking what is going on. They just accept that it must be done.

That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply. When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50% or more of the population was unprotected for decades.

If we listen to present-day wisdom, we are all at risk of resurgent massive epidemics should the vaccination rate fall below 95%. Yet, we have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred. Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.

When we examine the scientific literature, we find that for many of the vaccines protective immunity was 30 to 40%, meaning that 70% to 60% of the public has been without vaccine protection. Again, this would mean that with a 30% to 40% vaccine-effectiveness rate combined with the fact that most people lost their immune protection within 2 to 10 year of being vaccinated, most of us were without the magical 95% number needed for herd immunity. This is why vaccine defenders insist the vaccines have 95% effectiveness rates.

Without the mantra of herd immunity, these public-health officials would not be able to justify forced mass vaccinations. I usually give the physicians who question my statement that herd immunity is a myth a simple example. When I was a medical student almost 40 years ago, it was taught that the tetanus vaccine would last a lifetime. Then 30 years after it had been mandated, we discovered that its protection lasted no more than 10 years. Then, I ask my doubting physician if he or she has ever seen a case of tetanus? Most have not. I then tell them to look at the yearly data on tetanus infections – one sees no rise in tetanus cases. The same can be said for measles, mumps, and other childhood infections. It was, and still is, all a myth.

The entire case for forced mass vaccination rest upon this myth and it is important that we demonstrate the falsity of this idea. Neil Z. Miller, in his latest book The Vaccine Information Manual, provides compelling evidence that herd immunity is a myth.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Those pushing mandatory vaccination for an ever-growing list of diseases are a mixed bag. Some are quite sincere and truly want to improve the health of the United States. They believe the vaccine-induced herd immunity myth and likewise believe that vaccines are basically effective and safe. These are not the evil people.

A growing number are made of those with a collectivist worldview and see themselves as a core of elite wise men and women who should tell the rest of us what we should do in all aspects of our lives. They see us as ignorant cattle, who are unable to understand the virtues of their plan for America and the World. Like children, we must be made to take our medicine – since, in their view, we have no concept of the true benefit of the bad-tasting medicine we are to be fed.

I have also found that a small number of people in the regulatory agencies and public health departments would like to speak out but are so intimidated and threatened with dismissal or destruction of their careers, that they remain silent. As for the media, they are absolutely clueless.

I have found that “reporters” (we have few real journalists these days) rarely understand what they are reporting on and always trust and rely upon people in positions of official power, even if those people are unqualified to speak on the subject. Most of the time they run to the Centers for Disease Control or medical university to seek answers. I cannot count the number of times I have seen university department heads interviewed when it was obvious they had no clue as to the subject being discussed. Few such professors will pass up an opportunity to appear on camera or be quoted in a newspaper.

One must also appreciate that such reporters and editors are under an enormous economic strain, as vaccine manufacturers are major advertisers in all media outlets and for an obvious reason – it controls content. A number of excellent stories on such medical subjects are spiked every day. That means we will always be relegated to the “fringe media” as our media outlets are called. Despite the high quality of the journalism in many of the “fringe” outlets, they have a much smaller audience. And despite this we are having an enormous effect on the debate.

As the Public Awakens, the Collectivist Becomes Desperate

John Jewkes, in his book Ordeal by Planning, observed that as the British collectivists began to see opposition rise to their grandiose plans, they became more desperate and aggressive in their reaction. They then initiated a campaign of smearing their opponents and blaming every failure on the unwillingness of the people to accept the planner’s dictates without question. We certainly have seen this in this debate –opponents to forced vaccinations are referred to as fringe scientists, kooks, uneducated, confused, and enemies of public safety – reminiscent of Stalin’s favorite phrase, “enemy of the people.”

This desperation is based upon their fear that the public might soon catch on to the fact that the entire vaccine program is based upon nonsense, fear, and concocted fairy tales. One special fear of theirs is that the public might discover the fact that most vaccines are contaminated with a number of known and yet-to-be discovered viruses, bacteria, viral fragments, and DNA/RNA fragments. And, further, that our science demonstrates that these contaminants could lead to a number of slowly-developing degenerative diseases, including degenerative diseases of the brain. This is rarely discussed but is of major importance in this debate.

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7 comments to Vaccines and the Myth of “Herd Immunity”

  • […] To read more on Dr Blaylock’s site go to: Vaccines and Herd Immunity on Dr Blaylock's site. […]

  • My research has not been able to establish any relationship between antibodies and initial immune response. The immune system functions like a net embedded in the epithelial cells of the skin and membranes in the GIT. Antibodies do not do anything except function as a ‘tag’ to mark foreign proteins for removal – after the battle.

    The antibodies do not participate in the actual fighting – that work is done by cells. In fact, I can not find references for the antibodies of the immune system in any textbook – all the chapters on the immune system and immunity indicate that immunity is provided by CELLS of the immune system. Cells – macrophages, leukocytes, lymphocytes – B & T, killer cells and dendritic cells are the soldiers of immunity.

    So a vaccine stimulates antibody response – they measure the amount of antibodies produced after a shot – and if the body reacted at all – they claim that it proves that the vaccine is effective. This is like saying that a black eye is proof that a punch in the face is good for you!

    The point I am raising is that vaccines, since they do not strengthen or support cellular activity, are at best ineffective. At worst, they are the direct cause of a number of modern diseases – such as the cancer epidemic in our children, neurologic disease, and by poisoning, are linked to modern diseases that present without fever – the cardinal sign of poisoning.

    Hopefully soon, vaccination, which is not immunization, will be esteemed in the same regard as blood-letting, which killed our first President. The medical experts drained 55.8% of George Washington’s blood in less than 10 hours. His wife, Martha, pleaded with the doctors to not drain her robust husband’s blood – she tried to execute an exemption on her husband’s behalf, but her efforts did not stand up to the wisdom and power of the ‘best and brightest’ – they knew he was suffering from the effects of having too much blood. So they drained 124 of his roughly 224 ounce volume – in four draws over a nine-hour period. They were wrong. Just like today – vaccines are wrong. Barbaric and ill-conceived.

  • Mike

    Response to Jeff, above.

    A vaccine does much more than “stimulate an antibody response” and I’m surprised the author of this article has not corrected you. Vaccines absolutely cause a cellular immune response. Simply put, the cells you mentioned that are a ‘net’ present foreign particles to different types of immune cells – causing them to differentiate into antibody-producing plasma cells (that produce antibody for that foreign protein) and memory T-cells (that reactivate the cellular-immune response, if it is needed to destroy intracellular pathogens). Also, antibodies do much more than ‘tag for removal’, for example – in the case of tetanus toxin they actually inactivate it, preventing you from ending up in the emergency room because you can’t open your mouth after you cut your toe outside. Antibodies also activate the complement system, a very powerful protein response to bacteria and infected cells that punches holes in them so they die.

    To the author of the article:

    I was taught in medical school that immune responses to vaccines decline over time. I don’t think anyone thinks that any vaccine provides 100% immunity for life. Also, you fail to mention that killed/inactivated/recombinant vaccines are the main reason for the decrease in immunity over time. They present less antigen than the true pathogen and will thus produce less of a response (i.e. the HBsAg vaccine is less protective than an actual past Hep B infection), but I think you’d rather have a HBsAg vaccine than full blown hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma after a needlestick, no? Or is it not safer to provide a killed vaccine that has no chance of reverting to virulent form even if you have to provide a booster after 10 years?

    Also, and most importantly, your relation of the tetanus vaccine to herd immunity and infection rates is completely off base. Tetanus occurs in unvaccinated people who acquire a toxin through soil exposure, not human-human transmission. Thus, it has absolutely nothing to do with herd immunity. Absolutely a wrong example.

  • Nick

    Thanks to Mike for partially clearing up the misinformation in the original blogpost.

    What Mike did not clear up was the misinterpretaation of the definition of Herd Immunity. It has nothing to do with natural vs. vaccine-induced immunity. And it has nothing to do with the duration of immunity following immunization, whether immunization occurs by natural infection or by vaccination. Herd Immunity is the phenomenon of the herd protecting the individual by hiding the susceptible individual (from a pathogen) amongst the immune individuals of the herd, thereby reducing the probability that a pathogen infects the susceptible individual. Applying this concept to humans, there is a fundamental difference for herd immunity of an incidental disease (like tetanus) versus a human-amplified disease (like measles). Vector-borne diseases are also different.

    For tetanus (caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani), the immunity of the herd has no effect on the probability of infection of the susceptible individual, because the pathogen is in the environment. The susceptible individual has the same risk of exposure independent of the immune status of those around him/her. To achieve full population immunity, 100% vaccination would be required, with boosters.

    For measles (caused by a virus), the virus is amplified and spread to susceptible humans by infected humans. In a non-immune population, all contacts with an infectious patient would have a high probability of infection, and the virus would spread through the population rapidly until most of the population was immune (having recovered from the infection). The epidemic would die out when all contacts with an infectious patient have zero probability of infection, due to their own immune status. This scenario happens when a small percentage of the population is still susceptible because they never came into contact with an infectious patient before the epidemic waned. Thus, herd immunity protected that small group of uninfected, susceptible individuals. The percentage of the population required to be immune (whether by natural infection or by vaccination, aka immunization) depends on how infectious the pathogen is. The more infectious the pathogen, the higher is the immunity threshold for herd immunity. Note that this threshold goes down if quarantine measures are put into place, effectively limiting the contacts betwween infectious patients and susceptible individuals.

    Vector-borne disease is a special case because the vector, e.g. a mosquito, actively seeks out its host (e.g. a human). Thus, quarantine requires protection from mosquitoes rather than reduced contact with infectious patients. With a vector-borne disease that amplifies in the human population (e.g. malaria), the threshold immunity required to achieve Herd Immunity is less than when the disease is amplified by a non-human animal, such as West Nile virus. However, in this last case, human infection is typically rarer than with human-amplified vector-borne pathogens, due to the complexity of the ecology of these pathogens, which involves other animals as amplifying hosts.

    With all this said, I am just hoping to clear up the misconceptions about “herd immunity” in this blogpost. I am pro-choice, so I believe that getting vaccinated should be an individual’s choice. Spreading misinformation, however, is just another way of imposing one’s own choice on others.

  • Jeff, Mike and Nick,

    I don’t understand how herd immunity relates to a vaccinated population. Can you explain this to me? I understand how this works in a naturally occurring disease, and I appreciate the clarifications noted re: tetanus coming from the environment rather than another human. But if vaccines are not 100% effective and they wane over time, how can a herd immunity ever be achieved?

    As I study the information that is available regarding vaccines, it seems the most prudent thing to do is learn about the disease first and then the vaccine. A parent can weigh which seems more risky, as it is clear to me just based on the experiences of friends, never mind all of the information I have read, that vaccines do pose a clear health risk.

  • […] Russell Blaylock, M.D. on “Vaccines and the Myth of “Herd Immunity” This entry was posted in Vaccination. Bookmark the permalink. ← In Celebration of the OP […]

  • Nick

    Lori, herd immunity in a population is not a static condition, but rather it is dynamic. Immunity in human beings (or any other vertebrate population) wanes at different rates among individuals for any immunogen, whether it is a naturally occurring pathogen or a vaccine. Some vaccines are better than otehrs are generating long-lasting immunity. Some vaccines require boosting after 10 years, others after 10 months. It is best to think about herd immunity at a particular point in time for a particular population and for a particular pathogen. If immunity levels in the population are well below the threshold needed to achieve herd immunity (i.e. few individuals are immune), then vaccination would be recommended, because risk would be high. If these immunity levels are close to the this threshold, vaccination would not be urgently recommended because 1) herd immunity is already reducing risk, and 2) many of the vaccines would be wasted on people who are already immune. The state of herd immunity for a pathogen of interest, and the corresponding decision to vaccinate should be frequently reconsidered as the dynamic system of infection and immunity changes over time. I hope this helps.

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