[Accessed 6 October 2012]
The Interplay of Public Intervention and Private Choices in Determining the Outcome of Vaccination Programmes
Alberto d’Onofrio, Piero Manfredi, Piero Poletti
PLoS ONE: Research Article, published 01 Oct 2012 10.1371/journal.pone.0045653
After a long period of stagnation, traditionally explained by the voluntary nature of the programme, a considerable increase in routine measles vaccine uptake has been recently observed in Italy after a set of public interventions aiming to promote MMR immunization, whilst retaining its voluntary aspect. To account for this take-off in coverage we propose a simple SIR transmission model with vaccination choice, where, unlike similar works, vaccinating behaviour spreads not only through the diffusion of “private” information spontaneously circulating among parents of children to be vaccinated, which we call imitation, but also through public information communicated by the public health authorities. We show that public intervention has a stabilising role which is able to reduce the strength of imitation-induced oscillations, to allow disease elimination, and to even make the disease-free equilibrium where everyone is vaccinated globally attractive. The available Italian data are used to evaluate the main behavioural parameters, showing that the proposed model seems to provide a much more plausible behavioural explanation of the observed take-off of uptake of vaccine against measles than models based on pure imitation alone.