Recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles have heightened concern over suboptimal vaccination rates. Undervaccination may be due to access barriers, hesitancy over the safety and effectiveness of vaccination, or both. A variety of strategies exist to encourage greater vaccine uptake, including increasing access to vaccination services, improving vaccine education among youth and parents, providing incentives such as financial bonuses to parents with up-to-date children, and mandating vaccination of schoolchildren without approved exemptions. Child vaccine mandates are ubiquitous in the USA and employed internationally in various ways.
Vaccine mandates vary in several key elements, including: target population, what is required, consequences for noncompliance, who is in charge of enforcement, and—perhaps most hotly debated—procedures for exemption. In US states, efforts to remove religious and philosophical exemptions, for example, have become hotly politicized and subject to backlash including protests and ballot measure recall efforts. While the legal and ethical dimensions of such policies are often discussed, conclusions regarding the effectiveness of mandates as a strategy—particularly when they are met with public resistance—remains a thorny issue, as context and implementation factors likely play a substantial role in the success of mandate policies.
This interactive panel will present a range of evidence-based perspectives on the question: Are mandates the way forward for population vaccine coverage? Panelists from multiple disciplines will describe their research using different approaches to assess the effectiveness of vaccine mandate policies and assert a stance regarding the use of mandates as a policy lever. The moderator will facilitate a lively question and answer session following these presentations, inviting the audience to participate in the dialogue around how to study and implement policy on this challenging topic.
Session Chair: Devon Greyson
Presenters: Richard Carpiano, Kolina Koltai, Andrea Polonijo