Global Health and the US Election

Heidi Larson | November 19, 2016

Donald Trump could be the biggest single threat to vaccine confidence ever faced.

The confidence levels required to maintain vaccination at a sufficient level to ensure herd immunity are high. Currently 83% of Americans think that vaccines are safe – but, only a small drop in that number could lower vaccine confidence and uptake to unacceptable levels and risk disease outbreaks. In Texas, Wakefield’s current home state, the trend in vaccine exemptions is already accelerating with the number of exemptions up to 44,716 in 2016, from only 2,314 in 2003.

May I suggest that the term “herd immunity” should be replaced? To me, it sounds disrespectful to the children the vaccines are intended to protect. I think “group immunity” could be an alternative amenable to the editor’s find-and-replace feature.

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