The impact of epidemics of vaccine-preventable disease on vaccine uptake: lessons from the 2011-2012 US pertussis epidemic

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2015 Jul;14(7):923-33. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2015.1037289. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Conventional wisdom suggests that if there is a vaccine that is effective in preventing a disease, vaccine uptake will increase when the disease risk is high. Recent evidence, however, suggests that this may not always be the case. In a study we conducted in Washington State, we found no population-level increase in pertussis vaccination of infants during a pertussis epidemic. In this paper, we aim to review what is known about the history of vaccine uptake during epidemics of vaccine-preventable disease, the challenges facing public health campaigns responding to these epidemics, and how the effect of a vaccine-preventable disease epidemic on vaccine uptake can be studied.

Keywords: epidemics; epidemiological study characteristics; health communication; public health; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epidemics*
  • Humans
  • Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Whooping Cough / epidemiology*
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control*


  • Pertussis Vaccine