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Proc Biol Sci. 2019 Jan 16;286(1894):20182406. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2406.

Imperfect vaccine and hysteresis.

Chen X1, Fu F1,2.

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1 Department of Mathematics, Dartmouth College , Hanover, NH 03755 , USA.
2 Department of Biomedical Data Science, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth , Lebanon, NH 03756 , USA.


Addressing vaccine compliance problems is of particular relevance and significance to public health. Despite resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases and public awareness of vaccine importance, why is it so challenging to boost population vaccination coverage to desired levels especially in the wake of declining vaccine uptake? To understand this puzzling phenomenon, here we study how social imitation dynamics of vaccination can be impacted by the presence of imperfect vaccine, which only confers partial protection against the disease. Besides weighing the perceived cost of vaccination with the risk of infection, the effectiveness of vaccination is also an important factor driving vaccination decisions. We discover that there can exist multiple stable vaccination equilibria if vaccine efficacy is below a certain threshold. Furthermore, our bifurcation analysis reveals the occurrence of hysteresis loops of vaccination rate with respect to changes in the perceived vaccination cost as well as in the vaccination effectiveness. Moreover, we find that hysteresis is more likely to arise in spatial populations than in well-mixed populations, even for parameter choices that do not allow for bifurcation in the latter. Our work shows that hysteresis can appear as an unprecedented roadblock for the recovery of vaccination uptake, thereby helping explain the persistence of vaccine compliance problem.


evolutionary dynamics; hysteresis loop; social imitation; vaccine efficacy

[Available on 2020-01-16]

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