NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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Herd Immunity

Immunity is the ability of the body to protect itself from infectious disease. Immunisation programmes provide protection to vaccinated individuals and can provide protection to the wider unvaccinated population. Where this occurs it is known as "herd immunity‟.

What is herd immunity?

‘Herd immunity’ refers to the broader effects of vaccination on a community, and is achieved if enough members of a particular population have been vaccinated against a disease. This means that people who aren’t vaccinated now have some measure of protection against the disease.

What are the benefits of herd immunity?

Herd immunity dramatically reduces the spread of serious conditions that would otherwise be highly contagious. It can also offer protection to people who are, for medical or religious reasons, unable or unwilling to receive vaccination. People suffering from illnesses that compromise their natural defences are unable to safely receive vaccinations, and the reduced transmission and incidence of disease caused by herd immunity can spare them from severe sickness. Some groups object to vaccination on ethical or religious grounds, and these people also benefit from herd immunity.

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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