How Herd Immunity Protects Us All

When you get vaccinated, you're not just protecting yourself from a disease. You're also protecting your loved ones, friends, and others.

That's because of something called herd immunity, or community immunity.

Herd immunity works like this:

  • A germ enters a community.
  • If no one or just a few people have been vaccinated, this germ can spread quickly throughout a community. Everyone is at risk, and an outbreak may occur.
  • If most people have been vaccinated, the germ can't spread as easily. Fewer people are at risk, and if someone does get sick, there's less chance of an outbreak.

A different kind of herd immunity can also occur if most of the community has already had the illness.

We Protect Each Other

Herd immunity through vaccines benefits everyone. But it's especially vital for babies and toddlers who haven't had all of their shots yet. It also protects pregnant women and people who can't get certain shots for health reasons. This might include people with:

  • Cancer
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Serious allergies

It Takes All of Us

Herd immunity only works when most people get shots against a disease. If not enough people get the vaccine, then the whole community is at risk. 

Staying current with your shots keeps you and everyone around you safer.

A Reliable Record

Vaccines are very safe. They are thoroughly tested before coming to market. Every new vaccine has to go through three separate and increasingly large trials before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves it for public use.

Even after a vaccine is approved, the FDA watches it for side effects as long as it continues to be used. So you can trust that you're doing the best thing for yourself, your family, and your community by keeping up-to-date on your shots.

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