We are not Guinea Pigs: The Effects of Negative News on Vaccine Compliance

In 1996, following an epidemic, Pfizer tested a new drug on 200 children in Muslim Nigeria. Eleven children died while others were disabled. We study the effects of negative news on vaccine compliance using evidence from the disclosure of deaths of Muslim children in the Pfizer trials in 2000. Muslim mothers reduced routine vaccination of children born after the 2000 disclosure. The effect was stronger for educated mothers and mothers residing in minority Muslim neighborhoods. The disclosure did not affect other health-seeking behavior of mothers. The results illustrate the potential spillover effects of perceived medical malpractice on future vaccine hesitancy.