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Game-Theoretical Model of Retroactive Hepatitis B Vaccination in China
Vooha Putalapattu, Depts. of Psychology, Chemistry, & Biology, with Dr. Jan Rychtar, Dept. of Mathematics
Hepatitis B (HepB) is one of the most common infectious diseases affecting over two billion people worldwide. About one third of all HepB cases are in China. In recent years, China made significant efforts to implement a nationwide HepB vaccination program and reduced the number of unvaccinated infants from 30% to 10%. However, many individuals still remain unprotected, particularly those born before 2003. Consequently, a catch-up retroactive vaccination is an important and especially cost-effective way to reduce HepB prevalence. In this paper, we analyze a game theoretical model of HepB dynamics that incorporates government-provided vaccination at birth coupled with voluntary retroactive vaccinations. We show that this retroactive vaccination should be a necessary component of any HepB eradication effort. Due to the vaccine waning, the optimal vaccination rates are almost independent of the vaccination coverage at birth. Moreover, it is in an individual's self-interest to vaccinate (and re-vaccinate) at a rate just slightly below the vaccine waning rate.
Jan Rychtar, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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