Thursday, March 16, 2017
On Herd Immunity
Eula Biss elaborates on the concept of a “herd immunity” which is the idea of making vaccination and disease prevention more effective by inoculation of the majority to disturb the transfer of a virus. She notes that donation of blood and organs to the “bank” is much like that of vaccination being seen as an “immunity bank”. This idea in particular, or rather, the attitude “for the good of the community” really stands out in that it is not the common way that vaccines are promoted. Working in the pharmacy has given me this idea that vaccination is an every-man-for-themselves type of ordeal where it is up to the patient to risk getting the vaccine for their own benefit. People do not understand that subconsciously they are contributing to the “herd” idea and benefitting the community. I believe if vaccinations were seen more as a donation type ordeal like blood donation, there would be more of a compassionate and generous view that went along with it.
“The boundaries between our bodies begin to dissolve here. Donations of blood and organs move between us, exiting one body and entering another, and so too with immunity, which is a common trust as much as it is a private account. Those of us who draw on a collective immunity owe our health to our neighbors” ( Biss 20).
The quote again restates the idea of the “herd” and what is good for the society as a whole by helping neighbors. We learned in the last book about Jeremy Bentham’s Greatest Happiness Principle. I believe this relates in that by vaccination we can obtain a healthier, happier, and pain free (or rather… painless) environment for us to live in. Of course, this is why most doctors follow the idea of utilitarianism an offshoot of consequentialism, and definitely why they promote getting vaccinated. I understand the concerns people have about injecting themselves with foreign substances, but I think there has to be a point where we need to put faith and trust into our healthcare professionals and take the risk. Life is about taking risks, and if we let fear (whether it be of foreign substances or the thought of becoming impure) rule our lives, then we should just give up now. We got this far in life as a species by experimenting and discovering, so why should we surrender now to the diseases that surround us.