Despite vast improvements in global vaccination coverage during the last decade, there is a growing trend in vaccine hesitancy and/or refusal globally. This has implications for the acceptance and coverage of a potential vaccine against COVID-19. In the United States, the number of children exempt from vaccination for “philosophical belief-based” non-medical reasons increased in 12 of the 18 states that allowed this policy from 2009 to 2017 (1). Meanwhile, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, especially in young children, have led to increasing rates of drug resistance that threaten our ability to treat infectious diseases. Vaccine hesitancy and antibiotic overuse exist side-by-side in the same population of young children, and it is unclear why one modality (antibiotics) is universally seen as safe and effective, while the other (vaccines) is seen as potentially hazardous by some. In this review, we consider the drivers shaping the use of vaccines and antibiotics in the context of three factors: individual incentives, risk perceptions, and social norms and group dynamics. We illustrate how these factors contribute to the societal and individual costs of vaccine underuse and antimicrobial overuse. Ultimately, we seek to understand these factors that are at the nexus of infectious disease epidemiology and social science to inform policy-making.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health