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

TitleA game dynamic model for vaccine skeptics and vaccine believers: measles as an example.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsShim E, Grefenstette JJ, Albert SM, Cakouros BE, Burke DS
JournalJ Theor Biol
Date Published2012 Feb 21
KeywordsAttitude to Health, Choice Behavior, Game Theory, Health Care Costs, Humans, Immunization Programs, Measles, Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine, Models, Biological, Refusal to Participate, Vaccination

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.

Alternate JournalJ. Theor. Biol.
PubMed ID22108239
PubMed Central IDPMC3709470
Grant List5U54GM088491-02 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
U54 GM088491 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
U54 GM088491-02 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
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