Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social norms strongly influence vaccination decisions, the spread of disease

Date:
February 14, 2014
Source:
University of Waterloo
Summary:
Our response to societal pressures about vaccination has a direct effect on the spread of pediatric infectious diseases in areas where inoculation is not mandatory, says research. By incorporating social norms into predictive modelling, a research team found that they can foresee the observed patterns of population behavior and disease spread during vaccine scares-times when anti-vaccine sentiment is strong.

Our response to societal pressures about vaccination has a direct effect on the spread of pediatric infectious diseases in areas where inoculation is not mandatory, says new research published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

By incorporating social norms into predictive mathematical modelling, a research team from the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo found that they can foresee the observed patterns of population behavior and disease spread during vaccine scares -- times when anti-vaccine sentiment is strong.

"If vaccination is not mandatory and disease is rare, then a few parents will be tempted to stop vaccinating their children," said Professor Chris Bauch of Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics, and one of the study authors. "More parents adopt this behavior as social norms begin to change and it becomes increasingly acceptable to avoid some vaccines. Obviously, when enough parents are no longer vaccinating, the disease will come back."

In most of North America, pediatric vaccination is mandatory for children enrolled in public education. However, the number of parents applying for exemptions to pediatric vaccination is on the rise. According to Professor Bauch, as that trend continues Canadians will increasingly find themselves in a situation where vaccination coverage has declined and populations are once again susceptible to disease.

"Parents are not cold, clinical rationalists who base their decisions only on data. They are strongly influenced by other parents and what they read," said Professor Bauch. "Our research suggests that health officials needs to have a really good understanding of the social context to better understand vaccine scares and why people refuse vaccines. To do that, we have to develop predictive tools that also reflect social behavior patterns, or we won't be able to accurately represent what is happening during vaccine scares."

Predictive modelling can help public health officials plan for responses to vaccine programs. The models that Professor Bauch and his colleagues use can determine what may happen in a population where a vaccine scare has taken hold.

"If you've seen a big drop in vaccine coverage and you've seen a surge of disease because of that, you can use these models to predict how long it will take vaccine coverage to recover," said Professor Bauch.

Professor Bauch and his colleagues will continue to study how social norms interact with disease spread. Down the road, he hopes to use this model to create an index, which may be able to help determine which populations are more susceptible to vaccine scares, with the hope of preventing them from occurring.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Waterloo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Oraby, V. Thampi, C. T. Bauch. The influence of social norms on the dynamics of vaccinating behaviour for paediatric infectious diseases. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1780): 20133172 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3172

Cite This Page:

University of Waterloo. "Social norms strongly influence vaccination decisions, the spread of disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214111211.htm>.
University of Waterloo. (2014, February 14). Social norms strongly influence vaccination decisions, the spread of disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214111211.htm
University of Waterloo. "Social norms strongly influence vaccination decisions, the spread of disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214111211.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins