Originally Posted by forestmushroom
This is directly contradictory to my experience-- I am not saying this to challenge you or your belief, but just share information.
The vast majority of my friends do not vaccinate. When my almost 2 year-old was a tiny 2 month-old baby, some friends call me up to tell me that their daughter very likely has pertussis, and that I should check with my doctor.
The test to determine if it is pertussis often takes several days, and a little baby will likely have to begin treatment (antibiotics) before the results come back from the test. And of course my little guy develops a little cough that day! So here I am with my 2 month-old baby, having to decide whether to potentially give him antibiotics, or have him potentially get very sick if I don't.
So for me, yes, I would absolutely have my 2 year old get a shot to prevent some other mama from going through that. And if you do live in a high vaccinated population, you absolutely are benefiting from herd immunity, whether you want to believe it or not.
Edit to add: I don't think that non-vaxers are wrong (otherwise they wouldn't be my friends!) but in some cities, these illnesses are real and present andd the consequences are real.
This is exactly why Mothering is and should be a place to find alternative information. You are using possibly the one scenario in which herd immunity has not been shown to actually even exist, to promote the idea that we should vaccinate for herd immunity. I do believe in herd immunity for most vaccines. The three exceptions would be tetanus (not a communicable disease), diphtheria (no component in the vaccine to prevent infection - only useful for preventing illness by causing immunity to the toxin), and pertussis (bactericidal activity is so low that study after study has been unable to show that vaccinating children and adults prevents infection in infants).
Pertussis is a toxin-mediated disease. This means that infection with the pertussis bacteria is not what makes you sick. What makes you sick is the toxins produced by the bacteria. In the absence of a vaccine, this is a minor and mostly irrelevant point to quibble, but when we have a vaccine that specifically causes immunity to the toxins, rendering them harmless, then it becomes a major point, if the discussion centers around whether or not the vaccine causes herd immunity. This isn't some hippy, anti-vax idea. The CDC says vaccinated children are "silent reservoirs of infection". Silent because they catch and transmit the bacteria without having symptoms.
The pertussis vaccine contains a few components. Some are meant to increase bactericidal activity (make your immune system able to recognize and kill the pertussis bacteria) and some are meant to increase your resistance to the pertussis toxins. Unfortunately, the vaccine just doesn't work well at improving the body's ability to recognize and kill the bacteria. And that's not at all strange, considering that serologic studies show that adults are infected about every 3 years (but very rarely have symptomatic illness). This means that even infection can't make us immune, and it is universally recognized that infection is a better way of getting immunity to almost everything than is vaccination (with a few exceptions like tetanus - pertussis isn't one of them). So anyway, the portions of the vaccine that modulate your response to pertussis toxins actually work very well, resulting in a much reduced incidence of symptomatic disease in vaccinated children. That doesn't mean they don't spread infection. In fact, since they seem well, they are MORE likely to be out in the community, spreading pertussis around, than a kid who is clearly ill.
On the website for the adult booster that was out a few years ago (the website has been pulled since then or the address changed, I don't know which) there used to be a disclaimer stating that unknown whether immunizing adults and adolescents with this booster would prevent infection in children. Do you realize what that means? It means there is NO EVIDENCE that it does. No drug company on earth would say it was "unknown" if they had even the slightest bit of evidence - even one poorly designed study - to show that their product worked to do what they were marketing it to do (the marketing was centered on the idea that you don't want to give your baby pertussis). If they had proof that being vaccinated for pertussis prevented you from spreading it, they would say so. They would never say they had no evidence. Never.
At a World Health Organization meeting a few years ago, one of the biggest pertussis researchers in the world said that, when Japan returned to high vaccination coverage (they had relatively low coverage for quite a few years) there was no effect on the incidence of pertussis in infants under 3 months of age. That means vaccinate everyone else or not, it won't affect the babies who haven't been vaccinated. And pertussis is everywhere. It isn't just in your community or just in mine. It's everywhere. When they do serology studies (basically testing blood to see who has recently been exposed) , everyone is catching it, all over the country. In fact, these very serology studies show that the quoted 25,000 or so cases per year is laughable, since somewhere between 800,000 and 3 MILLION people are catching pertussis every year. It IS in my community. It IS in everyone else's community. You can't go anywhere to escape it.
Generally speaking, I hate linking to vax sites, but I'm too old and tired to have these discussions and link to 10 different studies. If you care about the facts, you can read the links here: http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/vaccine-efficacy-how-often-do-vaccines-work/dtap/pertussis-vaccine-and-transmission/ It isn't a bunch of opinions at that direct link. It is just links to actual studies and things like that. Read it or don't, but MDC is where you WILL find this information, like it or not.