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The importance of vaccination

The ultimate solution to the pandemic is the development of a vaccine. On the right you can find a project focused on explaining the concept of herd immunity through vaccination. The project is suitable for high-school students and can be carried out independently at home. It can be particularly useful for high-school teachers teaching their students remotely during the coronavirus crises.

The project was developed by Barbora Trubenová from IST Austria, Hildegard Uecker from the MPI for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, and Kristína Hudáková from C. S. Lewis Bilingual High school, Bratislava.

To simulate many more scenarios similar to those described in the project, you can use online simulator here (courtesy of Peter Glaus).


Some people cannot be vaccinated. This concerns, for example, young babies, pregnant women, or people whose immune systems are severely compromised. At the same time, the people who cannot be vaccinated are often the ones for whom the disease is most dangerous.

While the people themselves cannot be vaccinated, the healthy people in their surroundings can be. By doing so, they protect the unvaccinated from infectious diseases as well. This is called herd immunity

Single trial

The simulation below simulates a measles virus spreading in a population of 100 individuals, some of whom are vaccinated while others are not - same simulation as you just did using paper squares. Initially, two people are infected with measles, and two are high-risk individuals (e.g. babies). Run the simulation with the different numbers of vaccinated individuals and observe what happens.

Number of vaccinated:

Round   Vaccinated   Healthy   Sick   Warning  

Thousand trials

This button allows you to run 1000 simulations described above at the same time, and it will show you average numbers of sick and healthy people at the end of the sixth round. It will also show you, how many times (out of 1000) the high-risk individuals got infected.