Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Measles and Free Riders: California’s Mandatory Vaccination Law

  • KATHARINE BROWNE

Abstract:

This article takes up a game-theoretic perspective on California’s recently passed bill (SB 277) that closes all nonmedical exemptions for school-mandated vaccination. Such a perspective characterizes parental decisions to vaccinate their children as a collective action problem and reveals the presence of an incentive to free ride—to enjoy the benefits of others’ efforts to vaccinate their children without vaccinating one’s own. This article defends California’s legislation as a reasonable means of overcoming the free rider problem and of ensuring that the burdens of vaccination are shared equally.

Copyright

References

Hide All

Notes

1. S.B. 277, 2015–16 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Cal. 2015); available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/sen/sb_0251-0300/sb_277_bill_20150219_introduced.pdf (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

2. Fine, P, Eames, K, Heymann, DL. “Herd immunity”: A rough guide. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2011;52(7):911–16.

3. Plans-Rubió, P. Evaluation of the establishment of herd immunity in the population by means of serological surveys and vaccination coverage. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics 2012;8(2):184–8.

4. World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory repository: Measles (MCV) data by country; available at http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A826 (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

5. Seither R, Masalovich S, Knighton CL, Mellerson J, Singleton JA, Greby SM. Vaccination coverage among children in kindergarten—United States, 2013–14 school year. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014 Oct 17;63(4):913–20; available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6341a1.htm (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

6. Majumder, MS, Cohn, EL, Mekaru, SR, Huston, JE, Brownstein, JS. Substandard vaccination compliance and the 2015 measles outbreak. Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics 2015;169(5):494–5.

7. Wakefield, AJ, Murch, SH, Anthony, A, Linnell, J, Casson, DM, Malik, M, et al. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 1998;351(9103):637–41. Retraction in: Lancet 2010;375(9713):445.

8. E.g., Taylor, B, Miller, E, Farrington, CP, Petropoulos, MC, Favot-Mayaud, I, Li, J, et al. Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: No epidemiological evidence for a causal association. Lancet 1999;353(9169):2026–9;Jain, A, Marshall, J, Buikema, A, Bancroft, T, Kelly, JP, Newschaffer, CJ. Autism occurrence by MMR vaccine status among US children with older siblings with and without autism. JAMA 2015;313(15):1534–40.

9. Smailbegovic, MS, Laing, GL, Bedford, H. Why do parents decide against immunization? The effect of health beliefs and health professionals. Child: Care, Health and Development 2003;29(4):303–11.

10. Sadaf, A, Richards, JL, Glanz, J, Salmon, DA, Omer, SB. A systematic review of interventions for reducing parental vaccine refusal and vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine 2013;31(40):4293–304.

11. Nyhan, B, Reifler, J, Richey, S, Freed, GL. Effective messages in vaccine promotion: A randomized trial. Pediatrics 2014;133(4):e835–42.

12. For other game-theoretic treatments of vaccination, see Bauch CT, Earn DJD. Vaccination and the theory of games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2004;101(36):13391–4; Shim, E, Grefenstette, JJ, Albert, SM, Cakouros, BE, Burke, DS. A game dynamic model for vaccine skeptics and vaccine believers: Measles as an example. Journal of Theoretical Biology 2012;295:194203.

13. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93% effective, and two doses are 97% effective. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles Vaccination; 2015 Apr 7; available at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html (last accessed 1 June 2015).

14. World Health Organization. Measles fact sheet; 2015 Feb; available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

15. See note 14, World Health Organization 2015.

16. See note 14, World Health Organization 2015.

17. Salathé, M, Bonhoeffer, S. The effect of opinion clustering on disease outbreaks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 2008;5(29):1505–8.

18. Ireland J. Abbott government closes religious loophole for children’s vaccinations. Sydney Morning Herald 2015 Apr 19; available at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-closes-religious-loophole-for-childrens-vaccinations-20150419-1mo4rv.html?utm_content=bufferd74d3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

19. Izadi E. Religious vaccination exemptions will completely end in Australia. Washington Post 2015 Apr 20; available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/20/religious-vaccination-exemptions-will-completely-end-in-australia/ (last accessed 1 Sept 2015).

Keywords

The Measles and Free Riders: California’s Mandatory Vaccination Law

  • KATHARINE BROWNE

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed