Thursday, December 11, 2008

Herd Immunity

Another post from Sociological Images, via a University of Minnesota student. It is clear the cow represents the idea of "herd immunity", the percentage of the population needed vaccinated against a particular disease to protect the rest of the population. For example, we need need 85% of the population vaccinated against diptheria for the unvaccinated to avoid infection.

The comments left of the posting were interesting to me:

  1. Posted December 9, 2008 at 7:52 am |

    Man, when you use collectivism shouldn’t you, I don’t know, not use COWS or SHEEP? Get a bee or something “cooler.”

  2. Vidya
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    Oh, God, this is horrible. Why would receiving a dangerous and ineffective drug created and produced through hideous animal testing merit you a sticker? (I suppose it does exhibit the herd-mentality though — an unquestioning acceptance of others’ practices and of authority.)

  3. Elena
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 5:51 pm |

    “Why would receiving a dangerous and ineffective drug created and produced through hideous animal testing merit you a sticker?”

    Do you know of anyone who has died or been disfigured by smallpox lately? Measles? Tetanus? Know anyone with congenital rubella syndrome?

    Thank the herd, you freeloader.

  4. Benjamin Lobato
    Posted December 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm |

    Vidya,

    Could you elaborate on your comment? I’ve looked around the internet and haven’t been able to find anything about flu vaccines being dangerous. And from what I’m looking at, flu vaccines are 75% effective, which sounds pretty good to me.

    Couldn’t find anything about the animal testing either.


Essentially, most people didn't like the idea of being part of a herd, or being thought of as a cow. The cow is sort of an inside-joke for those who know what herd immunity means. But for other people, I guess it can be a weird idea. Maybe public health should think of a more appealing name? Certainly the public should be made aware of the idea; as more parents are opting out of vaccinating their children, herd immunity at schools is getting dangerously low. We take it for granted that we won't get measles- but measles is deadly and extremely contagious. Vaccines are not a conspiracy theory- they save lives.



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