In a JAMA Pediatrics Viewpoint, UPenn PRC Researchers Alison Buttenheim, PhD, and David Asch, MD, look at the 2014 Disney measles outbreak and what it showed about the effect of vaccination refusal on disease risk. Since the outbreak, parents continue to skip vaccinating their children, affecting “everyone by weakening the herd immunity conferred by widespread vaccination,” according to the authors.
Buttenheim and Asch identify interventions which might make the reasons for vaccinating more salient to parents and health behavior theories which recognize the complex ways people make decisions about their children’s well-being. “There is so much more known today than 2 decades ago about not just the errors in people’s judgment, but how predictable those errors are and therefore how well they can be anticipated. This knowledge should be used to promote health for individuals and populations.”