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A game dynamic model for vaccine skeptics and vaccine believers: Measles as an example

Shim, E and Grefenstette, JJ and Albert, SM and Cakouros, BE and Burke, DS (2012) A game dynamic model for vaccine skeptics and vaccine believers: Measles as an example. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 295. 194 - 203. ISSN 0022-5193

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Widespread avoidance of Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccination (MMR), with a consequent increase in the incidence of major measles outbreaks, demonstrates that the effectiveness of vaccination programs can be thwarted by the public misperceptions of vaccine risk. By coupling game theory and epidemic models, we examine vaccination choice among populations stratified into two behavioral groups: 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. The demand for measles vaccine across populations driven by individual self-interest was found to be more sensitive to the proportion of vaccine skeptics than to the extent to which vaccine skeptics misperceive the risk of vaccine. 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. Our results show that the discrepancy between the coverages of measles vaccine that are driven by self-interest and those driven by population interest becomes larger when the cost of vaccination increases. This research illustrates the importance of public education on vaccine safety and infection risk in order to maintain vaccination levels that are sufficient to maintain herd immunity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shim, E
Grefenstette, JJgref@pitt.eduGREF
Albert, SMsmalbert@pitt.eduSMALBERT0000-0001-6786-9956
Cakouros, BE
Burke, DSdonburke@pitt.eduDONBURKE
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Vaccine Research
Date: 21 February 2012
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Theoretical Biology
Volume: 295
Page Range: 194 - 203
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.11.005
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
School of Public Health > Biostatistics
School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0022-5193
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 19:27
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


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