Intentions to use a novel Zika vaccine: the effects of misbeliefs about the MMR vaccine and perceptions about Zika

J Public Health (Oxf). 2018 Dec 1;40(4):e531-e537. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy042.


Background: People's intentions to use vaccines are influenced by their beliefs about both the specific vaccine and the disease it prevents. In the absence of firm beliefs about Zika virus (ZIKV), individuals may base their intentions to vaccinate against it on beliefs about other vaccines, and specifically the misbelief that MMR causes autism.

Methods: A survey of 3337 Americans, using a random-digit-dialing sample of landline telephone households and cell-phones.

Results: Intentions to use a Zika vaccine were influenced by beliefs about Zika, science in general, and MMR. Intentions were positively influenced by perceived severity of and vulnerability to Zika, as well as belief in science's efficacy. However, intentions were negatively influenced by the belief that MMR causes autism in children.

Conclusion: The misbelief about MMR and autism may reduce people's intentions to use a new Zika vaccine. However, perceptions of severity of and vulnerability to Zika may increase intentions. Implications for science educators and public health officials are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult
  • Zika Virus Infection / prevention & control*
  • Zika Virus Infection / psychology
  • Zika Virus*


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine
  • Viral Vaccines