Swine Flu vaccination: voluntary system works

Feb 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Social interaction between neighbours, work colleagues and other communities and social groups makes voluntary vaccination programs for epidemics such as Swine Flu, SARS or Bird Flu a surprisingly effective method of disease control.

New research published today, Thursday 11 February, in , shows that contact with others can positively influence individuals to choose voluntary vaccination when considering the pros and cons.

The group of Chinese researchers found that in scale-free networks — social networks with an uneven distribution of connectedness such as neighbourhoods, work places or gyms — the so-called hub nodes, people with multiple , tend to choose to vaccinate themselves as they are at higher risk of infection from others, thus containing the spread of epidemics.

Based on their studies, the researchers have observed that at the beginning of an epidemic, when levels of infection are high, a large number of people will gradually take vaccination. As the effects of the temporary vaccination wear off, a second wave of outbreak will occur, however on a less severe level due to the number of individuals with still effective immunisation.

This is why outbreaks of disease and voluntary vaccination occur periodically, eventually settling down to a stable state. Individuals with a large social network play a crucial role in this cycle as, given information on the spread of the disease is freely available, the majority of them will choose voluntary vaccination.

In order to set up an effective vaccination strategy it is therefore crucial to affect the hub nodes' willingness to vaccinate, which can potentially be negatively influenced by factors such as the risk of infection, the coverage of disease and the cost of vaccination.

As the researchers write, "Sometimes the high costs of vaccination or misunderstanding the side effect of vaccinations can reduce the enthusiasm for taking vaccination. In this case the external incentives such as subsidy of vaccination cost would be helpful in enhancing the vaccination inclination of the hub nodes."

Explore further: Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals

More information: www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1367-2630/12/2/02301

Related Stories

Predicting effectiveness of flu vaccination campaigns

Feb 09, 2010

A new study, published by Elsevier this month in Vaccine, describes a new method that assesses the impact and cost-effectiveness of a range of vaccination options. The model was applied to the 2009 Influenza H1N1 outbreak and pr ...

Britain criticized for vaccination delay

Oct 13, 2007

Critics say delaying a cervical cancer vaccination program could condemn 1,400 more British girls to develop the disease and 420 to die from it.

Recommended for you

Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals

Apr 17, 2015

Rare Earth elements, found in the f-block of the periodic table, have particular magnetic and optical properties that make them valuable commodities. This has been particularly true over the last thirty years ...

Accurately counting ions from laboratory radiation exposure

Apr 15, 2015

Thermoluminescence is used extensively in archaeology and the earth sciences to date artifacts and rocks. When exposed to radiation, quartz emits light proportional to the energy it absorbs. Replicating the very low dose ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.