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This Simulation Instantly Shows How Herd Immunity Works

This Simulation Instantly Shows How Herd Immunity Works

Take a quiz based on this article, and earn a vaccine for UNICEF for every right answer!

Many of you already know two things: 


1. Not all people can get vaccinated (e.g. people with an impaired immune system)
2.  Vaccines don’t provide 100% immunity for everybody. 


This is why the concept known as ‘herd immunity’ is vital to protect the most vulnerable people. The idea is that even if one person is vulnerable to a disease, if they are surrounded by people who are immunized, the disease can’t get to them.


For herd immunity to work however, most people need to be vaccinated. It’s sometimes hard to visualize what this ‘herd immunity’ might look like, but a clever visualization has recently been making the rounds that does a great job.


Created by reddit user “theotherredmund”, this computer simulation simulates how herd immunity works. In their own words:


“You can see in the image, low levels of vaccination lead to everyone getting infected. Medium levels slow down the progression of the illness, but they don't offer robust protection to the unvaccinated. But once you reach a high enough level of vaccination, the disease gets effectively road-blocked. It can't spread fast enough because it encounters too many vaccinated individuals, and so the majority of the population (even the unvaccinated people) are protected."


"The visualization was made using an R simulation, with ImageMagick GIF stitching. The project was simulated data, not real, to demonstrate the concept of herd immunity. But the percentages were calibrated with the effectiveness of real herd immunity in diseases, based on research from Epidemiologic Reviews, as cited by PBS here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/herd-immunity.html.”


https://imgur.com/gallery/8M7q8#J7LANQ4
https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/5v72fw/how_herd_immunity_works_oc/

Last modified: 
Mar 22, 2017

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