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Herd immunity occurs when a significant portion of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease, limiting further disease spread.
Disease spread occurs when some proportion of a population is susceptible to the disease. Herd immunity occurs when a significant portion of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease and the risk of spread from person to person decreases; those who are not immune are indirectly protected because ongoing disease spread is very small.
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Published Online: October 19, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.20895
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Desai reported receipt of a PandemicTech fellowship. No other disclosures were reported.
Sources: Plans-Rubió P. Evaluation of the establishment of herd immunity in the population by means of serological surveys and vaccination coverage. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012;8(2):184-188. doi:10.4161/hv.18444
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. https://apic.org/monthly_alerts/herd-immunity/
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/articles/achieving-herd-immunity-with-covid19.html
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