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Mischievous Immunity: The History, Misunderstandings, and Policies of Herd Immunity

September 8th, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

David Jones Seminar

As soon as the global threat of SARS-CoV-2 was recognized, epidemiologists and policy makers looked to herd immunity as a possible path to salvation. The concept has followed a stormy course since that time, sometimes sought, sometimes decried, and frequently misunderstood. The roots of the problem can be traced to the origins of the ideas of herd immunity, including both the livestock veterinarians of the USDA in the 1890s and 1910s and the experimental epidemiologists of post-war Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. By recognizing the many meanings of herd immunity at its origins, it is possible to understand why the concept has caused so much controversy during the COVID-19 pandemics.


David S. Jones, MD, PhD
A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine
Department of the History of Science, Harvard University &
Professor in the Department of Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Date: September 8th, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Calendars: Public Events, School-wide Events, University-wide Events
Event types: Lectures / Seminars / Forums