Why Community Immunity is Important
Community Immunity: the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.
As the name implies, community immunity protects everyone in the community. It is vital to the overall health of a community because some people with weakened or failing immune systems are unable to be vaccinated.
That’s why it’s important that everyone that can be vaccinated is vaccinated — because not everyone can be vaccinated.
What Can Cause Weakened or Failing Immune Systems?
- Type 1 Diabetes
By mid-2019, there were already more than 35,000 new cases of cancer reported in Indiana; approximately 10% of Hoosiers have diabetes (half of those diagnosed as Type 1), and just under 11,000 people are living with HIV.
On top of those figures, according to the CDC, approximately 12,000 kindergartners were unable to get vaccinated due to medical reasons in the 2017 – 2018 school year — that includes 156 children in Indiana. That’s 156 mini-Hoosiers whose health depends on community immunity. Here are some other people who depend on community immunity:
- People without a working spleen
- Newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated
- Elderly people
Chances are, you have a family member or a neighbor who is unable to be vaccinated. Voices for Vaccine advocate Sonia Bychkov Green has written about her four sons and the disease that has weakened their immune systems preventing them from vaccination.
“When I think of people who choose not to vaccinate their children, I also imagine how many of them are likely very kind people: the type of people who would pull over and help us if we were stranded. Who’d catch my kid if he were falling from a tree. Who’d probably even buckle my kid first if they were driving a bunch of kids in a car and didn’t have seat belts for everyone. I get it! I’m a mom, and I’d do the same for their kids, any day.
Perhaps no one has put it to these non-vaccinating parents this way, but vaccinating your kids is just as – if not more! – immediately helpful to my kids, and other vulnerable kids in your school or community, as any of these things! If you are a parent who is vaccine-hesitant or who have chosen not to vaccinate, my plea to you is this: My kids are my heart and soul, just as yours are to you, and I need your help to keep them healthy and safe. I would do the same for you.”
Staying up-to-date on your vaccinations and making sure your children are as well, doesn’t only keep you and your family healthy, but it keeps your community healthy.
Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my immunized neighbor?