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Herd Immunity

Netflix’s docuseries Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak couldn’t have come at a more crucial time with the recent coronavirus outbreak. Pandemic follows several viruses and diseases around the globe and analyzes strategies to combat them. The series creates urgency for the need to prepare for infectious disease outbreaks, and demonstrates the importance of herd immunity by conceptualizing some of the most tragic outbreaks in history including the Spanish, swine and bird flus, Ebola and measles.

Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. The recurring theme of herd immunity throughout the docuseries is particularly relevant given the uprise of the anti-vaccine movement. According to the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy was one of the 10 biggest threats to global health in 2019. Difficulty accessing vaccines, misinformation, and lack of confidence are key reasons people choose not to be immunized, or to have their children immunized, against deadly viruses.

Successful vaccination efforts are critical for herd immunity to exist. Vulnerable populations, such as those with impaired immune systems (e.g. people with cancer) are put at great risk of deadly infections when herd immunity is not up to par.

If you’re interested in learning more, we highly recommend this educational and thought-provoking docuseries! Netflix link:

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