Shedding and Herd Immunity

For some time now, the Pertussis vaccine has been a common threat of all children and parents. Lately there has been an increase in people contracting the virus. The pro-vaccine activists claim that the anti-vaccine parents are to blame. Weakened immune systems, the spreading of the virus, and the super strands are all due to the anti-vaccine community. However, the anti-vaccine community takes a strong stance on the topic, as well. They believe that “shedding” is one of the most dangerous vaccine-related absurdities. To summarize:


Shedding is when the live virus that is injected via vaccine moves through the human body and comes back out in the feces, droplets from the nose, or saliva from the mouth. Anyone who takes care of the child could potentially contract the disease for some time after that child has received certain live vaccines. This was a huge problem with the oral polio vaccine, and was one of the reasons why it was taken off the market in the US.

A question often asked by the anti-community is, if vaccine believers are protected by the vaccine why are the unvaccinated an issue? The pro-vaccine say that is where “herd Immunity” comes into play. To summarize:


 Herd immunity from the pro vaccine side: Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. This has been a common complaint from the pro side because they claim the Anti’s are threatening this concept with their choice not to vaccine.


The anti community rebuttals this claim by explaining that Pro’s have been misusing this term “herd immunity”. The original idea that vaccination could strengthen the herd’s immunity, assumed that there was only one clinical event, and that one natural exposure equated life -long immunity. But this was not the case back when the diseases circulated freely. The body defends most efficiently as a result of ongoing re-exposure. They try to mimic this with boosters. But the vaccination plan leaves the elderly (due to vaccine-induced immunity being short-lived and antigens taken out of circulation) and the very young (due to lack of transferrable maternal immunity) more vulnerable to several diseases that were not a threat to them before vaccination. – See more at:


There are points to consider on either side of this argument, but to circle back to pertussis; I think these two debates are currently the most heated of them all. I have included some segments from pieces I’ve found documented on both sides of the controversy. There is plenty of research to conduct after reading each side, but one thing is for certain, it does not make choosing any easier when science is involved, because at the end of the day, a parent holds the responsibility; not the doctors or manufacturers or the CDC. So, choose wisely; but, if you are reading this, I urge you to take as much time as you need to make a firm and confident decision.


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