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Community Immunity Toolkit – Introduction

Why you make a difference.

Community Immunity. These days, mentioning it can cause a fight. Community immunity is often been at the fault line between people who prioritize personal freedoms and those who prioritize the greater good.

So before we get into the nuts and bolts of community immunity. Let’s start with a call for compassion and an understanding that community immunity is about far more than “herd immunity.” It’s about caring for one another. It’s about wanting a society that mirrors the best among us. It’s about protecting the most vulnerable among us.

A student once asked anthropologist Margaret Mead, “what is the earliest sign of civilization?” The student expected her to say a clay pot, a grinding stone, or maybe a wagon.

Margaret Mead thought for a moment, then she said, “A healed femur.”

A femur is the longest bone in the body, linking hip to knee. It takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. A healed femur shows that someone cared for the injured person, did their hunting and gathering, stayed with them, and offered physical protection and human companionship until the injury could mend.

Mead explained that where the law of the jungle – the survival of the fittest – rules, no healed femurs are found. “The first sign of civilization is compassion, seen in a healed femur.”

With that in mind, this toolkit will explain the science of herd immunity but marry it with a healthy dose of optimism. We’ll share our vision of what a healthy, functional, and compassionate society looks like and provide helpful hints to move your community in that direction.

One important thread throughout this toolkit is recognizing that the “greater good” concept is not going to resonate with everyone. In order to achieve community immunity, we need everyone to vaccinate so we’ll be providing talking points throughout to appeal to folks for whom the personal benefit is more compelling than the great good. It’s what we think of as pragmatic optimism.

We hope you’ll find this toolkit inspiring, easy to understand, and most of all, practical and doable. That Utopian community we talk about? It’s not pie in the sky. It’s actually very easy to achieve if we all get involved. So we encourage you to do your part and inspire others to do their part to achieve that lovely community that cares for each other.

© Voices for Vaccines. Excerpts and links may be used by websites and blogs, provided that full and clear credit is given to Voices for Vaccines, with appropriate and specific direction and links to the original content. Parents, providers, advocates, and others may download and duplicate toolkits in print, without alteration, for non-commercial use and with full and proper attribution only.

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