Who is protected by Herd/Community Immunity?

Certain members of communities may be at an increased risk for many vaccine preventable diseases including the very young (too young to be fully immunized), the elderly (variety of reasons), or those whose immune system is too weak to offer protection (cancer patients receiving Chemo).

Why does my son or daughter need to be immunized if the disease has been eliminated?

Diseases that are rare or nonexistent in the United States, like measles and polio, still exist in other parts of the world. Doctors continue to vaccinate against them because it’s easy to come into contact with illnesses through travel — either when Americans travel abroad or when people who aren’t properly immunized come to the United States. If immunization rates fell, a disease introduced by someone visiting from another country or returning home from a foreign country could cause serious damage in an unprotected population. In 2008, an outbreak of measles sickened many in San Diego, California, after a family who had taken a European vacation returned home with their unvaccinated child, who had contracted measles. In 2011, low immunization rates contributed to the largest whooping cough epidemic California had seen in 50 years, when more than 9,000 people contracted the illness and 10 babies died.nIt’s only safe to stop vaccinations for a particular disease when that disease has been eradicated worldwide, as in the case of smallpox.

I hear that some vaccine preventable diseases are no longer around in the U.S. Why do we need to still be vaccinated against them?

• While many vaccine preventable diseases are at very low levels in the United States, only smallpox has been eliminated. Vaccines are why we are seeing lowe levels of infections in the United States. There are numerous examples where populations in the US have stopped or decreased vaccination rates and the disease rate soon rises. As an example, in numerous cases of measles outbreaks, it has been shown that people not vaccinated against measles had a 20 time increased risk of infection compared to people who had been vaccinated In the U.S. there is a Recommended Vaccine Schedule published annually that provides the recommended list of vaccines for children and adults to receive. These diseases are not seen as often anymore because vaccines work!n• We live in a global society. Traveling/relocating around the world happens every day. Many of these vaccine preventable diseases still occur frequently around the world. It is important that those who can be vaccinated, be fully immunized and on time with their immunizations to protect themselves, their families, and their community. n• For example in 2017 there have been outbreaks of Measles and Polio in Africa, Measles and Mumps in the U.S., Polio and Measles in Pakistan, and Whooping Cough and Measles in Southeast Asia. Additionally in 2014 a Measles Outbreak in Ohio was caused by unvaccinated Amish travelers returning from the Philippines.