The concept of herd immunity and the design of community-based immunization programmes

Vaccine. 1992;10(13):928-35. doi: 10.1016/0264-410x(92)90327-g.


The paper focuses on the concepts of transmission success and herd immunity and their relevance to the design of community-based immunization programmes for the control of infectious diseases. Recent work in a number of areas is reviewed, including the influence of mass vaccination on the average age of infection and the incidence of morbidity due to infection and vaccination, the age window of susceptibility and the problems of vaccine programme design in developing countries, the interaction between vaccine efficacy and vaccine safety and the design of vaccination programmes for the control of sexually transmitted infections. Discussions centre on the interplay between an understanding of the transmission dynamics of an infection and the design of community-based control programmes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / transmission*
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Rubella / prevention & control
  • Rubella / transmission
  • Safety
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Vaccination* / economics
  • Vaccination* / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Vaccines / economics
  • Vaccines / supply & distribution


  • Vaccines