HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Pacific Science Center to open vaccine exhibit

If you’re a fan of preventing infectious diseases and have holiday travel plans that will take you to Seattle, the Pacific Science Center has the exhibit for you.

Next weekend, the science center will open its new exhibit, “Vaccines & Immunity: It Takes a Community,” which looks at the science behind vaccines and local research.

Vaccines have dramatically decreased death and disabilities from infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, polio and smallpox, according to the science center. But for vaccines to be effective in preventing the spread of contagious diseases, a community needs herd immunity – that is 95 percent of the people in a community vaccinated.

Herd immunity protects those who cannot be vaccinated or who have weakened immune systems.

The exhibit features a “chicken-poxing” video game and a simulation of measles spreading through communities with different vaccination rates to demonstrate herd immunity. Visitors will also learn about the body’s natural response to disease and how vaccines stimulate that response.

The exhibit will also include images and information about the complications of measles, mumps, whooping cough and other diseases. Visitors will also learn more about vaccines and the Seattle-area institutions leading the way in vaccine innovations.

The vaccine exhibit opens Dec. 9 and runs through the summer.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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