Saturday, February 12, 2011

Herd Immunity: A Scientific Fact

Many anti-vaxers (Mr. Hubbs included) seem to have a problem with the concept of herd immunity as if it is a myth, so I thought it was worthy of discussion to get the facts out there.  First of all the idea of herd immunity is that if enough people area vaccinated from a particular disease and therefore cannot contract that disease and/or pass it to others, then those who are not vaccinated will be protected.  Under most cases the threshold for such immunity equates to approximately 85% of the population being vaccinated for any given disease.

Unfortunately if the group that is not vaccinated grows too large, the 'herd' or population can no longer prevent diseases from being transmitted from person to person and this herd immunity loses its effectiveness.  The real issue here is that we always know there are a number of people who can't get vaccinated for one reason or another.  Maybe they are on chemotherapy or maybe they are on immune suppressive therapy for a chronic disease or maybe they have severe allergies that prevent them from receiving a specific vaccine (some vaccines use egg proteins for example).  These people have no choice but to skip a vaccination due to their other existing conditions, and they rely upon the rest of us to protect them. 

Dr. Paul Offit (probably one of the most well know and respected experts in the field of immunology and vaccinations) recently stated there are 500,000 people (I'm assuming he means people in the US) who fall into this category.  That means it is up to the other 300 million of us to get vaccinations in order to protect those who can't protect themselves.  Granted getting a vaccination is not a totally selfless act as it protects the person who gets the vaccination as well, but knowing it can prevent spreading disease to others is surely an added benefit.

Generally this system works fine, but in recent years due to fear mongering by pseudo-celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and due to fabricated studies like the one pushed forth by the now discredited Andrew Wakefield, there has been a growing number of people who are skipping their vaccines simply because they are too ignorant of the real science and too scared to take a chance.  To some degree these people are simply being selfish because they think the rest of us will protect them, but on the other hand these people are being dangerous because their lack of vaccinations means they can (and often do) contract diseases which are spread onto others.

Case in point, California is now under the worst pertussis outbreak in the last 50 years which has resulted in over 1,500 people contracting Whooping Cough and at least 10 deaths thus far.  The root cause of this outbreak?  People who skipped their vaccinations and thus spread the disease to others.  The primary reason for a growing number of people refusing to vaccinate their children or receive vaccinations themselves has been the discussion about a possible link to autism and all of the media attention which has surrounded the issue.  However, if you actually drill down on the issue you will find numerous peer-reviewed studies which have been performed that show no link between vaccines and autism, yet not a single peer-reviewed study anywhere which proves such a link exists.

This is generally the point where Mr. Hubbs would profess that the Wakefield "study" (not really a study, but more of a paper) proved such a link, but truth be told even when the Wakefield paper was published, it still was not able to prove such a link exists and never even claimed to.  Besides the fact that Wakefield didn't make the specific claim that the MMR vaccines causes autism (he merely eluded to a potential risk) and aside from the fact that Wakefield relied upon no more than a dozen hand picked children as his sample as opposed to hundreds of cases a real scientific study would have used, as it turns out his paper was based upon blatant fraud including the manipulation of patient data and cross-contamination of samples.

We should thank Mr. Wakefield however as he is credited with driving the vaccination rates in the UK down from 93% to around 75% and as a result the measles were actually declared to be an epidemic again in the UK.  This in turned resulted in countless people contracting the measles and in some cases it actually resulted in death, so be sure and mail a thank-you card to Wakefield for his great job (sarcasm intended).

Have I mentioned that not a single scientist has been able to replicate Wakefield's original findings?  Yea... that seems rather important when you try to suggest something is peer reviewed (the Wakefield study was not), but it does explain why so many of the original authors involved with Wakefield's paper later pulled their names from it.  Funny how not a single one of the "doctors" associated with the anti-vaxer movement has been able to replicate Wakefield's original findings even though they continue to profess his original work was sound - but that seems to be status quo for the antivax movement... make accusations but don't bother to back them up with evidence or any real science.

So with all of this said, we can clearly see the results when people decide to stop vaccinating.  Diseases spread, people suffer, and in some severe cases - people actually die.  So what has happened to the rates of autism during this same period of fear-mongering and vaccination avoidance?  If the anti-vaxers are correct the rates should be dropping due to fewer people being vaccinated, but sadly (and predictably) that hasn't been the case. 

Herd immunity is clearly not a myth and it works when people take responsibility for their health and the health of their families. Unfortunately, due to the desire to prey upon the fear of parents, the media has allowed this fraud to be perpetuated among the entire population which has resulted in many parents skipping the necessary vaccinations.  The good news is science is once again prevailing as more and more parents realize these fears are unfounded and the risks of not vaccinating are far too great to ignore. 

The other good news is the media is finally catching up with science and starting to report on the real facts including how Wakefield has been proven time and time again to be a lying fraud and how throughout all of the research and study which has been directed towards vaccines, none of it has proven any type of a link to autism.  In addition to this, due to the number of outbreaks of diseases that were once under control such as pertussis and measles, intelligent and logical people are discovering that herd immunity is not a myth, but rather an undisputed fact.


  1. Your statements once again have all been previously refuted. Top to bottom proven as false and refuted. The problem is once again that you refuse to acknowledge it. I challenge you to show me once piece of valid science, actually any science at all that supports the concept of herd immunity. The concept of herd immunity was coined actually from veterinary science, and it involves natural immunity not claimed to vaccines or vaccine strain immunity. I could again and have presented this argument and the reference sources time and time again, and you know it, but just keep on lying and ignoring it. Nothing would be enough, ever.

    And really if vaccines actually worked, and at all as advertised, there would be no need of herd immunity. There would not be happening as well the endless vaccine and herd immunity failures I have referenced, and that have occurred throughout the history of vaccines to the current day.

    What you have here is purely misinformation, and to prove that would take far more information and references than there is space for, I assure you however that in my information I have put forth, and it is all there. You just refuse to acknowledge it and keep on presenting the same misinformation.

    1. Lowell, with all due respect many of your points are incorrect and/or completely wrong.

      You ask for evidence to prove the existence of herd immunity. I ask you to politely state your evidence against first; given you are the one debating a point. Simply relying on tired information that has been passed from one unreliable source to another is not an argument against. So you will need to provide some evidence here...a statistical analysis perhaps? Be warned, any such attempt will be observational only and in statistics this is the poorest method of analysis and open to error and confounding.

      If vaccines work there is no need for herd immunity. Sorry but this is complete fallacy and demonstrates you don't actually understand the topic. The same is true in regards to your comments of immunity failures.

      You can claim to put forward any information you like. The crux of the matter is not what you have collected, but if your data is reliable, and more importantly, if the numbers you have in front of you are statistically significant. I would suggest no to both of those points. And this is not because I'm a tired old scientist that wants to assert I am right and you are wrong. Its because there are obvious flaws in your claims of research and even your flow (or lack) of logic.

      Endlessly claiming you are ignored or that others refuse to accept your information is not actually correct either. People have every right to respectfully disagree with you. When this is done objectively and when it is based on fact and not preconception or prejudice it actually nullifies your argument and assigns it as subjective and based only on opinion only. Most opinions are wrong...simple observable fact.

      Unlike the next reply in this post, I DO actually think that science is open to question and debate. But only if the information you are bringing forth is worthwhile and if the person can easily demonstrate they have carefully researched their topic. Sadly, your points fail this test.

      Dr J. Andrews

  2. Mr. Hubbs - as I have explained before science and facts are not open to debate. Considering you clearly don't even understand what herd immunity is (as is proven by your second paragraph) I'm afraid there isn't much you can really add to this topic.

    To think you are actually so ignorant that you don't think vaccines work at all is simply aamazing to me... but then again you are the same guy who thinks you can cure cancer with baking soda so maybe I shouldn't be shocked.

  3. Cancer is a disease that is highly dependent on available sugar metabolism, and as well an acidic body and blood ph. When the ph is reversed to a normal slightly alkaline ph cancer will reverse. There is more than one factor involved in normalizing ph. I have outlined that all before, but you have to take the time to actually educate yourself from non biased sources. People recovering and beating cancer without radiation and chemo. is all the proof anyone would need, unless you want to deny the truth. People recovering as well that main stream had written of without hope. Also when all the typical sources of toxicity are removed with that, and detoxification takes place, this as well is necessary to beat cancer. I am not saying traditional means never work, just that the natural means is allot healthier, and much more effective. Anything that gets to the true cause, and main stream so called medicine never does.

    You are only as dumb as you choose to be.

  4. Quote: Mr. Hubbs - as I have explained before science and facts are not open to debate????? Unquote.

    How can you debate something such as the science of herd immunity, as well as the facts and that science, when it doesn't exist, and never did?

    You claim that you understand herd immunity, and that there is such science specifically detailing the subject of vaccines, and vaccine derived immunity. So go find it? Just because the CDC refers to that, does NOT mean that there is any actual science connected to it.

    Can you NOT read? Go to as well my Herd Immunity page on the site!

    And how do you respond to all the vaccine herd immunity failures that have occurred, or aren't you aware of that?

  5. As to your theories on cancer - I'm sure you have some peer-reviewed studies to support your claims about natural cures or baking soda?

    Yea I didnt' think so. Please try commenting again when you can source something viable.

    As to herd immunity "failures", I've already explained when we see outbreaks of diseasess which were normally under control it boils down to your anti-vaccine zealots who refuse to vaccinate your children.

    If people actually vaccinate you don't see polio or smallpox being an issue, but when they stop vaccinating we see those diseases come back just like the measles out breaks in the UK which are directly tied to the fraud Wakefield and his perpetuation of fear.

    Keep in mind there are always a percentage of our population who cannot vaccinate themselves (if you actually read our blog posts rather than just the title and first few sentences you would know this), and because of that there is always a risk of a small portion of the population contracting a disease.

    This is why it is so important that as many people as possible vaccinate - to protect everyone around them including those who don't have a choice. You anti-vaccination idiots simply don't understand that, and the outbreaks we have seen due to your ignorance are evidence enough that you don't understand science and are easily fooled by con-men and snakoil salesmen who are peddling "natural cures" and immune-strengthening supplements.

    Sorry Mr. Hubbs, but once again you have proven yourself to be exactly what the title of this blog says: You are a vaccine conspiracy theorist, and a vaccine denier. Keep digging buddy, you are only strenthening our case against you and your anti-vaxer friends.

  6. Lowell, where are the double blind clinical studies that show that these natural cures are "much more effective" than traditional treatments and where are the double blind clinical trials that show this mystical detoxification process is a cancer cure?

    I know cancer treatments have come a long way in the last 30 years, but I have yet to find a natural treatment that has been proven to work at all. If you cand find one, you'll be the most famous person on Earth.

  7. You're wasting your time if you think Mr. Hubbs can come up with reputable studies... but he might refer you to his fancy blog or as his "sources".

    Don't expect anything from pubmed or a reputable medical journal - that will never happen.

  8. Really? Looks like it just did happen! Are those significant enough for you? You don't pay attention very well.

    J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2010;73(19):1298-313.
    Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine: influence of gestational age and birth weigh.

    Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2010;70(2):147-64.
    Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study

    Biomarker-guided interventions of clinically relevant conditions associated with autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

  9. Still trying to find a way to make those monkey studies relevant huh Mr. Hubbs?

    We have been through this issue before and pointed out all of the glaring conflicts of interest and irrelvancy of that study, but rather that me repeating myself (as you so often do) I'll simply refer to you a much more detailed and lengthy reponse which explains that study in further detail:

    As to your others, they have nothing to do with detoxification cancer cures or natural cures being more effective which is what Scott was asking for. Truth be told - I'm not even sure how you feel the studies you posted are even relevant. They surely have nothing to do with herd immunity which is the topic here - but you never were real strong at staying on message.

    Once again it appears you have simply cut and pasted information you found on Generation Rescue or some other antivaxer website without understanding the content involved. Wish I would say I am surprised... but I'm not.

  10. You haven't been through that before, and you know it. Is there no end to your deception? And why did you refuse to publish my post here? To much truth? All that is contained in Gorski's articles as to the primate studies, is spedculation, based on only the abstract. Stating, oh I don't know, it doesnt say, but if that did this, and or if they did that, it's no good. Then he interjects a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo that he knows the public will never understand, and thus he comes off in their eyes really looking like he knows it all about science.

  11. First of all Lowell, I cut off the bottom 2/3rds of your comment as it was just more of the same, but I think the first part of your comment above is extremely telling.

    If you believe Gorski's analysis is "scientific mumbo jumbo" and that you believe "the public will never understand" it, that tells me all I need to know. That explains why you remain so ignorant about scientific and medical matters... you readily admit you don't even understand the complexities of what you are reading, thus how can you expect to act as a "messenger" to others?

    Simply amazing. Just when I think you couldn't be any more ignorant you go and do something like this - and prove me wrong.

  12. wow, an entire blog created to agrue one man. pretty impressive..might want to look into getting a hobby : )

  13. Technically the blog was started to counter some of the false information Mr. Hubbs was spreading and has evolved into much more. In fact several of the posts here have been quoted elsewhere including this one.

    That said - there is always room for more than one hobby!

  14. It isn't scientific but I just look around at the world today and think about the world in which I was raised in the late '40s and early '50s. People living in iron lungs as a result of polio, children getting unimaginably ill from diseases now almost unknown thanks to vaccinations -- some children actually dying. And I worry that that world is not gone but just on hold. Thanks to so many parents refusing to vaccinate their children those horrid days of long ago may return with an ugly vengeance. On the personal bright side, my granddaughter has had all her shots.

    1. You have a valid point and there are many who have speculated that once the older generations die off and there is nobody left who remembers iron lungs and kids in wheelchairs due to polio, that those days may return.

      It is sad to think we need to experience more pain and suffering to convince people that vaccinations actually work. It is equally sad that people fail to acknowledge history and they invent their own version of it to support their ignorance.

      Yet in today's world, anyone who has access to Google can easily find numerous pages from antivaccinationists and unless they take the time to dig a little deeper, they might take them at face value. That is the thing about the Internet - people can say whatever they want, and it is up to the reader to see through the BS.

      There is a lot of money to be made by selling unregulated vitamins and supplements and books and DVDs, so those antivaxxer charlatans are most likely here to stay. I really don't want to be the one to say "I told you so", but I fear it is only a matter of time before their actions lead to widespread illness, pain, suffering, and even death. In fact it has already happened due to the fear-mongering false information spewed forth by people like Andy Wakefield. Sure he lost his medical license and sure the light was finally shown on his fraud... but that won't remove the damage done to all the children that failed to get vaccinations, and it won't bring those kids back that died as a result of his lies.


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