Notes on Herd Immunity from Andrew Wakefield

Herd Immunity is a term that is bandied around in defense of mass and mandatory vaccination. What is it and why is it important?

Let’s set out a working definition of what Herd Immunity is at a functional level in the population: Herd Immunity is the presence of adequate immunity within a population against a specific infection that operates to protect those at high risk of serious infection and consequently, reduce morbidity and mortality from that infection.

Now let’s separate out Herd Immunity, comparing what it meant in the pre-vaccine era compared with what it means in the vaccine era, using specific infections as examples.

Measles: Herd Immunity in the pre-vaccine era
  • When measles first enters a population that has not been exposed to measles before, Herd Immunity is zero and there is, initially, a very high morbidity (illness) and mortality.
  • This occurs in large part as a consequence of high dose exposure.
  • High dose exposure occurs because, in the absence of viral immunity, viral replication is unimpeded in the multiple susceptible human reservoirs in which it thrives. High doses of measles virus are transmitted from one person to the next. Added to this, socioeconomic circumstances contribute to high dose exposure. This includes high population density (easy transmission) and poor antiviral defenses (e.g. low vitamins A, D, and C). An example is the ravage of measles in Confederate soldiers amassed in barracks and hospitals in the American Civil War.
  • Over time, as measles becomes endemic (constantly circulating) in a population with typical 2-yearly epidemics, Herd Immunity increases rapidly. Natural exposure leads to long term immunity. Immunity limits viral transmission and opportunities for viral replication. Concomitantly, developed countries have experienced an improvement in nutritional status and consequently antiviral immunity. Dose of exposure falls and a dramatic reduction in morbidity and mortality is observed.
  • As a consequence of natural Herd Immunity, in the developed world measles mortality had fallen by 99.6% before measles vaccines were introduced. A fall in morbidity will have paralleled the fall in mortality (mortality is the extreme of morbidity).

Let us look at an example of how natural Herd Immunity operated to provide age-appropriate immunity.

  • Infants less than one year of age have a limited ability to generate adequate immunity and are susceptible to serious measles infection.
  • In the pre-vaccine era mothers conferred good passive immunity on their infants by transplacental and breast milk transfer.
  • This passive immunity protected infants through a period of vulnerability until they were better able to cope with measles through the generation of their own active immunity.
The vaccine era

Measles vaccine has destroyed natural Herd Immunity and replaced it with a temporary and inadequate quasi Herd Immunity that necessitates a dependence on vaccination along with an increased risk of severe adverse outcomes. Here are some examples of how natural Herd Immunity has been destroyed.

  • The increasing Herd Immunity associated with natural measles and the accompanying decrease in morbidity and mortality, has been interrupted by vaccination. This makes it difficult to predict how vaccinated populations might respond to, say, a new strain of measles virus that has escaped the ‘protection’ conferred by measles vaccine (escape mutant). Because that population is not immune to the escape mutant we risk high morbidity and mortality from measles once again.
  • Vaccinated mothers do not confer adequate passive immunity upon their infants (< 1 year of age). Infants are unable to generate an adequate immune response to measles vaccine and in the absence of passive maternal immunity, are unprotected during the first year, putting them at risk of serious measles infection.
  • Unlike natural measles, measles vaccine does not provide lasting immunity and a substantial proportion of measles cases are reported in those who have been vaccinated against measles.
  • Boosting of immunity using repeated doses of measles vaccine is not sustained and falls off rapidly. The only answer to this diminishing return that is offered by the regulators and manufacturers is to give more and more vaccines. The vaccine is highly profitable in terms of volume of sales, precisely because it is inadequately effective.
Mumps and Herd Immunity

Mumps is acknowledged to be a trivial disease in children; many do not even know they have had mumps the symptoms are so mild. Mumps is not a trivial disease in post-pubertal males where it can cause testicular inflammation and sterility.

Mumps vaccine does not work. Protection is way below the 96% claimed by Merck and mumps epidemics are occurring worldwide in highly vaccinated populations. Merck is accused of fraudulently misrepresenting the efficacy of their mumps vaccine in order to protect their US monopoly on the MMR vaccine. I would suggest that everyone who has suffered mumps and particularly its complications despite mumps vaccination, has a valid legal claim against Merck.

Mumps vaccine failure is associated with inadequate immunity following vaccination (primary failure) and rapidly waning immunity after vaccination (secondary failure). These factors mean that populations are at greater risk as they grow older. Since severe side effects are more common in mature males, mumps vaccine has made mumps a more dangerous disease.

Natural Herd Immunity, that is, lifelong immunity following exposure of children to mumps in the pre-vaccine era, has been destroyed by mumps vaccination.

Chickenpox and Herd Immunity

The chickenpox virus (varicella zoster) causes a mild self-limiting disease in healthy children. The virus frequently establishes latent infection in the cell bodies of sensory nerve roots where it has the potential to episodically reactivate and cause shingles, a very painful and debilitating condition. Shingles can cause blindness. Historically, shingles was an uncommon disease occurring in, for example, people with immune deficiency due to cancer or immunosuppressive drug therapy.

Reactivation of zoster is inhibited by an adequate level of immunity to this virus which, in turn, is maintained by boosting of immunity in parents and grandparents by re-exposure via children with chickenpox. Natural epidemics of chickenpox maintained Herd Immunity by ‘wild-type boosting’ (referring to the natural virus) of adults which prevented shingles in otherwise healthy individuals. This is no longer the case.

Widespread chickenpox vaccination has removed natural Herd Immunity by preventing epidemics, eliminating ‘wild-type’ boosting, and allowing immunity to fall in individuals to the point where shingles is now much more common, occurring in young, apparently healthy people. Vaccination has created a new epidemic to which Merck’s response is, ‘we’ve created a market; now let’s make a vaccine to prevent shingles.’

-Andrew Wakefield


Comments 26

  1. Linda Christopherson

    Every single time, I mean EVERY single time I listen to Dr. Wakefield or read something he has composed I feel that the information presented is well thought out and composed such that any thinking person would be convinced and if not convinced then compelled to better understand just what exactly is ‘herd immunity’.

    Certainly, by the method he has used here to share the difference of ‘natural herd immunity’ and herd immunity post vaccination era one can see a thread of logic and I dare say truth. If you have not read the book “Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History” by Suzanne Humphreies, MD and Roman Bystrianyk then I recommend you get it and read it. It will give you a solid foundation for understanding just exactly what is clearly presented here by Dr. Wakefield.

    I am amazed and continue to be amazed and grateful for his intelligent and heart-felt sharing of his knowledge and compassion.


    1. David Foster

      Here is a link to The Shingles Prevention Study in which Merck was involved, along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID), to study whether a “shingles vaccine” could reduce the incidence of shingles in older adults.

      You might also find this interesting:

      Review of the United States universal varicella vaccination program: Herpes zoster incidence rates, cost-effectiveness, and vaccine efficacy based primarily on the Antelope Valley Varicella Active Surveillance Project data.

    2. don toews

      Unparelled courage, I think adding a protocal high dose Vit C before and after a vaccine if one is forced or persuaded into taking a jab to protect one’s self from side effects. Dr Thomas Levy or Suzanne Humphries will gladly fill in. I’ll let my friends in Calgary to watch

  2. Susan

    I always felt that vaccines were harming. I am so happy that the truth is getting out. I believe there should be a severe penalty….. shooting them up with the vaccines. Hurting innocent children. Just simply disgusting. It ‘s just one of the ways our world is so corrupt.

  3. Pingback: Herd Immunity Examined: Natural Immunity in the Pre-Vaccine Era versus Modern Vaccine Immunity | Health Exchange

  4. Gary

    Yes, our world has gone terribly wrong. The seeds of this disaster were planted by John D. Rockefeller in the early 20th century, in the pharmacological approach to medicine muscling aside every other healing modality, reinforced by patent law, and strengthened into a colossus of a manufacturing and regulatory industry mandating profitable treatment, whether effective or not, through force of law, the pocketbook, or herd pressure. Thank you, Dr. Wakefield. This is the best explanation of herd immunity and its value that I’ve read. I’ll never forget hearing that scoundrel Pan crowing about the wonders of vaccine-induced herd immunity in the legislative hearings I attended, when in truth vaccination has destroyed it.

  5. Christine and Robert Runquist

    Dr. Wakefield, you have our utmost respect. Thank you for standing firm in the truth that you knew about the dangers of vaccination, and for listening to parents around the world. You are a true leader. Back in the year 2000, we tried to get a medical exemption for our youngest son for school. We did not want him to have any further vaccinations. He had a history of febrile seizures brought on after vaccination. He was always extremely ill with fevers, rashes, and horrible constipation! It was a very difficult and stressful time in our lives! The doctor would Not give him a medical exemption! We homeschooled for about 6 years. When we finally found out about religious exemption, that is what we did for him to go to school. Our three older children became severely ill prior to this from the Hepatitis Vaccine. One became autisitic. One began falling unconscious and having seizures, and was eventually diagnosed with GBS, and Cognitive Impairment. Our oldest son was very ill from the Hepatitis shot but recovered.
    No one ever told us about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. We found out about it too late to get any assistance with all of the medical bills and illnesses. The limit is 2 years. It has been a long difficult road. But seeing VAXXED recently has given us a glimmer of hope for the children of the future. This is the most important movie of our time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. May God watch over and protect you in this very important journey!

  6. Bonnie Guzman

    The best definition of herd immunity, in addition to the explanation of increased numbers of shingles cases, I have ever read. Indebted to you, Andrew Wakefield.

  7. Tess Murdock

    Thank you, Dr. Wakefield, for your well thought out and articulate explanation of natural herd immunity vs. vaccine induced immunity. I saw Vaxxed in Berkeley, CA, and it showed many things my family has experienced with regard to vaccines. It is not only a vindication for you, but for my family as well. Keep up the good fight.

  8. SusanGoodBear

    I especially appreciate having terms defined in this article, making it completely intelligible to any literate layperson. Thank you, Dr. W!

  9. Libby Argiri

    Thank you, thank you Dr. Wakefield. My daughter was injured by the Gardasil vaccine (another atrocity for the sake of corporate/Merck profit). We struggle and take each day as it comes. As all parents with a child injured from a vaccine, I long for the days that she will be back to herself…I am still trying to be hopeful. Thank you for explaining this. It is absolutely critical for people to understand. You are making a HUGE difference.

  10. Cindy

    This well articulated information gives one hope that the goodness within humanity may prevail over the corruption.
    Andrew Wakefield is , in every instance that I have seen him ( and I have been following the vaccination debate closely , trying to encourage my children NOT to vaccinate my grandchildren ) the picture of unflinching integrity , and I thank him for helping me to better understand and better influence my children not to vaccinate , or at least to do their research and not rely solely on mainstream media which is in my opinion ) so ripe with corruption.

  11. Ira Goodman MD

    One thing not mentioned in Dr. Wakefields excellent article is that every time a vaccinated person circulates in the herd for about 3-4 weeks after vaccination, he is shedding virus. Therefore vaccines and the newly vaccinated are much more of a threat to the un vaccinated than the unvaccinated are. The media, and those who give very little thought to this problem think in simple terms- there is a disease and we have the answer- vaccines. As Pasteur said- its,the soil not the microbe. That is where everyone’s attention should be.

  12. Kathryn

    I read recently on an anti-vac site that contrary to popular belief, that mumps does not cause sterility in males?

  13. Randall Rivera

    Even before Vaxxed I saw some documentaries that convinced me that there was corruption going on with the vaccinations. I was appalled that the L.A. Times criticized and marginalized parents who questioned the now mandatory vaccinations. I wrote a letter to the editor which, of course, was not published. It would be wonderful to see a headline that reads: Vaccines Linked to Autism-CDC found guilty of manipulating data. There is no debate on the most important problems in our world. I hate to say this, but our system has turned our journalists and many scientists into whores. Dr. Wakefield and those like him who risk all to expose the lies are the greatest heroes of our time.

  14. Kenneth S

    I had shingles, although I was a VERY healthy 35 year old. My primary care was baffled as to why I had it, yet his first recommendation was to have the shingles vaccine! He “heard” it could prevent another outbreak. Thankfully, I decided to forgo his plan, and sought out a naturopath. Following his plan, the lesions cleared up quickly, and I haven’t had a relapse.

  15. Cat Terry

    so I am thinking of NOT vaccinating my 4 month old from now on….. how can I help her avoid getting any serious diseases since she’s technically not immuned to them yet? (rubella, varicella, measles, pertussis, etc)

    at what age will she be strong enough to where I don’t have to worry? is there ever an age where a vaccine wont have serious reactions? or are vaccines a complete no no?

    ( I will decided to be against vaccines so far, from all the terrible metals, and ingredients that are used to preserve the vaccine, one of them being from aborted fetal tissue- which I am a huge advocate of pro-life)

    1. Kat Johnson

      Chances are she will be exposed from the recently vaccinated. Make sure she is not vitamin deficient (stay away from processed foods and fast foods) and she will recover as most kids of past generations did. All my kids had chicken pox and recovered just fine. I tested positive for antibodies against diseases I don’t even remember getting. Thank you Dr. Wakefield for being a crusader in this fight against medical tyranny.

  16. John

    RE: “I would suggest that everyone who has suffered mumps and particularly its complications despite mumps vaccination, has a valid legal claim against Merck.”

    I thought that’s what the VARS court system is for. Protecting the pharmaceutical industry from lawsuits. Thereby placing the lawsuit payout on the taxpayers not Merck”. Big Goverment. Big Pharma. Big Cover Up.

  17. Marcin

    In Poland, as parents of an unvaccinated child, we could face monetary fines (increasing with time) and apparently even loosing parenthood rights. Thankfully, so far we were able to stay under the radar and our almost 2 year old son is perfectly healthy (as opposed to other vaccinated children around him). He’s on a healthy diet, as healthy as it can be (raw milk, private garden with fruits and veggies, home cooked meals, no sugar, minimal grains, etc.).

    1. RK

      Where there is a risk, there must be a choice. More than that, there must be informed choice, a.k.a. informed consent. When did we abandon informed consent in medicine?
      These corrupt laws must be discarded.

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