Altruistic Vaccination: Insights from Two Focus Group Studies

Health Care Analysis 30 (3):275-295 (2022)
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Vaccination can protect vaccinated individuals and often also prevent them from spreading disease to other people. This opens up the possibility of getting vaccinated for the sake of others. In fact, altruistic vaccination has recently been conceptualized as a kind of vaccination that is undertaken primary for the benefit of others. In order to better understand the potential role of altruistic motives in people’s vaccination decisions, we conducted two focus group studies with a total of 37 participants. Study 1 included three focus groups on the subject of HPV vaccination for boys. Study 2 included three focus groups on the subject of pertussis and measles vaccination for childcare workers. We found substantial evidence of other-regarding motives across all focus groups, which suggests that altruistic motives could be an important factor when it comes to people’s vaccination decisions. We address the significance of these findings for vaccination policy surrounding HPV vaccination for boys and vaccination for childcare workers. We also extend the findings to normative work on vaccination for the sake of others more generally.

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