The impact of vaccine side effects on the natural history of immunization programmes: An imitation-game approach

Alberto d'Onofrio, Piero Manfredi, Piero Poletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When the incidence and prevalence of most common vaccine preventable childhood infectious diseases are constantly low, as is the case in many industrialized countries, the incidence of vaccine-associated side effects might become a key determinant in vaccine demand. We study an SIR transmission model with dynamic vaccine demand based on an imitation mechanism where the perceived risk of vaccination is modelled as a function of the incidence of vaccine side effects. The model shows some important differences compared to previous game dynamic models of vaccination, and allows noteworthy inferences as regards both the past and future lifetime of vaccination programmes. In particular it is suggested that a huge disproportion between the perceived risk of disease and vaccination is necessary in order to achieve high coverages. This disproportion is further increased in highly industrialised countries. Such considerations represent serious challenges for future vaccination programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2011



  • Epidemiological models
  • Imitation dynamics
  • Vaccination choices
  • Vaccine side effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Applied Mathematics

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