How Vaccine Hesitancy Can Cost the Public Millions in 200 Words

New research demonstrates that drops in vaccination rates can lead to an economic burden for our communities, totaling in the millions.

This recently published study, from Stanford University and Baylor College of Medicine, shows that even a slight drop in MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination rates by five percent could lead to not only three times as many measles cases, but also costs to the public sector of more than $2 million. This is a conservative figure - it only factors in the costs to treat and respond to measles outbreaks in children ages 2-11, and would be significantly higher if younger babies, adolescents, adults were factored in.

Vaccine hesitancy – concern about the safety, efficacy and necessity of vaccinations – has been on the rise in the U.S. and is leading more parents to refuse or delay needed vaccinations for their kids. It’s driven by a proliferation of conflicting and misleading information that would make any parent think twice about what’s best for their kids. But medical and public health experts who have dedicated their lives to caring for children overwhelmingly agree that sound evidence establishes the safety, efficacy and necessity of vaccines.

Skipping or delaying recommended vaccinations comes with costs to our kids’ health and taxpayers’ bottom line that we simply can’t afford.


This post is part of our “____ in 200 Words” series. In this series, we tackle issues related to children’s health policy and explain and connect you to resources to help understand them further, all in 200 words. If you have any suggestions for a topic in this series, please send a note to PolicyLab’s Communications Manager Lauren Walens