Nevin Manimala Statistics

Partisan Polarization of Childhood Vaccination Policies, 1995‒2020

Am J Public Health. 2022 Aug 25:e1-e9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2022.306964. Online ahead of print.


Objectives. To examine trends in partisan polarization of childhood vaccine bills and the impact of polarization on bill passage in the United States. Methods. We performed content analysis on 1497 US state bills (1995-2020) and obtained voting returns for 228 legislative votes (2011‒2020). We performed descriptive and statistical analyses using 2 measures of polarization. Results. Vote polarization rose more rapidly for immunization than abortion or veterans’ affairs bills. Bills in 2019-2020 were more than 7 times more likely to be polarized than in 1995-1996 (odds ratio [OR] = 7.04; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.54, 13.99). Bills related to public health emergencies were more polarized (OR = 1.76; 95% CI = 1.13, 2.75). Sponsor polarization was associated with 34% lower odds of passage (OR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.42, 1.03). Conclusions. State lawmakers were more divided on vaccine policy, but partisan bills were less likely to pass. Bill characteristics associated with lower polarization could signal opportunities for future bipartisanship. Public Health Implications. Increasing partisan polarization could alter state-level vaccine policies in ways that jeopardize childhood immunization rates or weaken responsiveness during public health emergencies. Authorities should look for areas of bipartisan agreement on how to maintain vaccination rates. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 25, 2022:e1-e9.

PMID:36007205 | DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2022.306964

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala