Impact of Vaccine Behavior on the Resurgence of Measles
Widespread avoidance of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination (MMR) demonstrates that the effectiveness of vaccination programs can be thwarted by public misperceptions of vaccine risk. By coupling game theory and epidemic models, we examine vaccination choice among populations stratified into vaccine skeptics and vaccine believers. The two behavioral groups are assumed to be heterogeneous with respect to their perceptions of vaccine and infection risks. We demonstrate that the pursuit of self-interest among vaccine skeptics often leads to vaccination levels that are suboptimal for a population, even if complete coverage is achieved among vaccine believers. Furthermore, as the number of vaccine skeptics increases, the probability of infection among vaccine skeptics increases initially, but it decreases once the vaccine skeptics begin receiving the vaccination, if both behavioral groups are vaccinated according to individual self-interest. This research illustrates the importance of public education on vaccine safety and infection risk in order to achieve vaccination levels that are sufficient to maintain herd immunity.
KeywordsVaccination Strategy Endemic Equilibrium Herd Immunity Measle Vaccine Measle Vaccination
We are grateful for the support by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences MIDAS grant 5U54GM088491-02. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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