Modeling Influenza Vaccination Behavior Via Inductive Reasoning Games

Published In: Modeling the Interplay Between Human Behavior and the Spread of Infectious Diseases / edited by Piero Manfredi, Alberto d'Onofrio (New York : Springer, 2013), Part III, p. 203-227

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Raffaele Vardavas, Christopher Steven Marcum

Past experiences with seasonal influenza and immunization may affect individual decisions about whether to obtain vaccinations. Individuals continually adapt to recent influenza-related experiences, using inductive thought to reevaluate their options to obtain vaccinations. We explore this concept by constructing an individual-level model of adaptive decision-making. We couple this model with a population-level model of influenza that includes vaccination dynamics. The coupled models allow us to explore how individual-level decisions may change influenza epidemiology and, conversely, how influenza epidemiology might change individual-level decisions. By including the effects of adaptive decision-making within an epidemic model, we show that the behavioral dynamics of vaccination uptake could lead to severe influenza epidemics even without the presence of a pandemic strain. We further show that these severe epidemics might be prevented if vaccination programs provided commitment-based incentives or if mass media released epidemiological information that individuals can use to evaluate the prudence of vaccination. Finally we discuss and present some preliminary results of the model when social networks offer preferential paths for transmission.

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