How effective are governmental incentives to achieve widespread vaccination coverage so as to prevent epidemic outbreak? The answer largely depends on the complex interplay among the type of incentive, individual behavioral responses, and the intrinsic epidemic dynamics. By incorporating evolutionary games into epidemic dynamics, we investigate the effects of two types of incentives strategies: partial-subsidy policy in which certain fraction of the cost of vaccination is offset, and free-subsidy policy in which donees are randomly selected and vaccinated at no cost. Through mean-field analysis and computations, we find that, under the partial-subsidy policy, the vaccination coverage depends monotonically on the sensitivity of individuals to payoff difference, but the dependence is non-monotonous for the free-subsidy policy. Due to the role models of the donees for relatively irrational individuals and the unchanged strategies of the donees for rational individuals, the free-subsidy policy can in general lead to higher vaccination coverage. Our findings indicate that any disease-control policy should be exercised with extreme care: its success depends on the complex interplay among the intrinsic mathematical rules of epidemic spreading, governmental policies, and behavioral responses of individuals.
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