WN@tL this week: Malia Jones on parents, vaccinations and public health

The history and future of the anti-vaccination movement in the United States will be the focus at this week’s Wednesday Nite @ the Lab talk.

Malia Jones, assistant scientist at the Applied Population Laboratory at UW-Madison, will present a lecture titled “Increasing Numbers of Parents are Refusing to Vaccinate Their Kids: Should Public Health be Worried?” on Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 7 – 8:15 p.m. at the UW Biotechnology Center.

This talk will describe the recent history of the anti-vaccine movement in the United States, with a focus on California’s population of school-aged children and their parents. Epidemiology concepts such as infectivity and herd immunity will be discussed in the context of population-level vaccine coverage and the rise of vaccine refusals over time. We’ll look at the extent to which vaccine refusals are clustered in spatial locations such as schools and neighborhoods, and how herd immunity is affected by these spatial clusters of high-risk children. We will also look at which parents are the most likely to refuse vaccines and theories about why. Policy solutions to vaccine refusal will be discussed, including the recent changes to California’s vaccine policy and proposed changes to Wisconsin’s vaccine policy.

Jones is a social epidemiologist with expertise in GIS methods. Her research focuses on the social and spatial determinants of health at the population level. She is especially interested in the social forces that lead to higher rates of chronic and infectious-disease outcomes among disadvantaged populations and how these forces are located in geographic space. Jones holds both doctoral and master’s degrees in public health and is skilled in advanced GIS and quantitative-analytic methods.

WN@tL is free and open to the public. It can also be viewed via live webcam at Afterwards, the archived lecture will be available at

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