It is unclear how broadly aware parents are of the concept of herd immunity and whether parents consider community benefits of vaccination when making decisions about their child's vaccinations. We aimed to determine whether educating parents about community-level benefits of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination and local vaccination rates would impact concern about their child's risk of measles and risk of a measles outbreak. We conducted an electronic survey among Minnesota parents of children aged 6–18 years in August 2016. We assessed baseline knowledge of herd immunity, asked participants to estimate MMR vaccination coverage in their county, and asked participants to estimate the minimum coverage needed to prevent measles outbreaks. We then delivered a short, educational intervention via the survey to inform participants about the benefits of herd immunity, the actual MMR vaccination coverage in their county, and that at least 95% MMR vaccination coverage is needed to prevent measles outbreaks. Pre- and post-intervention, participants were asked to report how concerned they were that their child might get measles. We used logistic regression models to assess factors associated with awareness of herd immunity, change in concern about one's child's measles risk, and overall concern for a measles outbreak. Among 493 participants, 67.8% were aware of herd immunity at baseline. Post-intervention, 40.2% (n = 198) of parents learned that MMR vaccination rates in their county were higher than they expected. All participants found out that their county MMR rates were lower than the measles herd immunity threshold of 95%. Overall, 27.0% (n = 133) of participants reported an increase in concern that their child might get measles after learning about local vaccination coverage and the coverage needed to achieve herd immunity. We found that our short, educational intervention aimed to increase awareness about herd immunity and local vaccination led to an increase in concern about disease risk among less than a third of parents.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award [# UL1TR000114 ] and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01 AI132496 (PI: Nicole E. Basta) and T32AI055433 (to Angela K. Ulrich). Additional support comes from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under award numbers T32HD095134 and P2CHD041023 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
- Herd immunity
- Indirect protection
- MMR vaccination
- Vaccination coverage
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article