Ethical Considerations in Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine Hesitancy is one of the leading threats to global health, and has played a large role in the re-emergence of Measles as a threat in the developed world. An important ethical question is how the responsibility for an adverse outcome should be apportioned to those who have declined vaccination. If an individual who is too young or has health restrictions preventing vaccination becomes ill, do those who refused vaccination and caused the infection bear some responsibility? If so, how much? Answering this question requires understanding the structure of transmission chains. We will develop a branching process model of the transmission process, and use probability generating functions and related techniques to get the necessary understanding of transmission chains.

Daniel Roberts

La Trobe University

Daniel is a La Trobe University student completing a Bachelor of Science/Master of Nanotechnology combined degree. In the bachelor component, he is majoring in physics and mathematics, focusing mainly on areas of study relevant to nanotechnology. Hence, both in physics and mathematics, his knowledge and interest lie in the applied areas rather than the pure or theoretical. Daniel is currently most interested in nanotechnology-enabled devices for electronics and optics, but this may change by the end of his course. Though disease spread and herd immunity are a significantly different field from what Daniel usually works in, Daniel is interested in any research that has direct practical applications like this, and hopes this research can be used effectively to educate people about the community-wide risks of refusing vaccination, to help in prevent the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

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