Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

The danger of apathy: College students’ receipt of mumps vaccine during an outbreak

Laura Keane


An outbreak of the Mumps occurred on the campus of James Madison University (JMU) during the Spring Semester of 2018. This was one of the first times college aged students would have the chance to make a decision about whether they received a vaccine or not without a person deciding for them. This study examined the relationships between general vaccine acceptance, MMR vaccine acceptance, vaccine knowledge and intent to receive/receipt of the MMR booster. An explanatory, cross sectional study was distributed to students in two different Health Science classes at JMU (n=243). For students present during Spring 2018, the surveys evaluated their perceptions and behaviors towards the MMR vaccine and for those not enrolled at the time, the survey evaluated perceptions of a hypothetical outbreak. It was found that 97.4% (n=149) of those not enrolled would receive a booster shot if recommended while in reality, when presented the opportunity 36.4% actually did receive the shot while enrolled. These students received and would receive the vaccine primarily for self-protection. 63.6% (n=51) of eligible participants did not receive the vaccine with the most popular reason being lack of time. The surveyed population was accepting of vaccines and had a positive attitude towards them it was found attitude alone is not enough to persuade an individual to receive a vaccine. The results indicate more efforts need to be put into increasing perceived importance of vaccinations and perceived susceptibility to the consequences of not getting vaccinated.